Arsenal Ladies fans hoping to watch the u17 team’s cup final have been dealt a cruel blow as the FA have decided the game will be played behind closed doors.
In the previous seasons the u17 final was played three times at MK Dons and last year at Stratford upon Avon but this year the final will take place at St George’s Park.
This is the ultra modern training base for all the England teams where many England women youth teams games are played behind closed doors. To make it clear, the u17 Cup like those England Youth games is not 100% behind closed doors. This game is restricted it to two tickets per player as per a source.
The facilities are second to none at SGP and players certainly enjoy training and playing there. I have been lucky enough to go there and watch one of those behind closed doors game as a guest from one of the visiting FAs and can say it is a fantastic place to play and watch football if you are one of the lucky few allowed to.
Obviously, there is a cost saving element in this as no ground has to be hired, no security involved and the pitch quality is superb but does it makes it a valuable trade-off against having no fans allowed at all? With all the players family invited there will be around 400 people watching the game, as the FA also allows their guests to come and watch the games.
The boys final (FA Youth Cup) is played over two legs, so it is a different format but those games are not played behind closed doors. Last season’s final were played at the Academy Stadium and Stamford Bridge, so it is hard to understand why the FA does not want fans to come and watch a big cup final.
Let’s hope the girls will be able to defend their title and do consecutive doubles, something no one has ever achieved at that level. The previous u17 Cup winners are Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Arsenal.