Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has told the Telegraph in an exclusive interview that the club want to see Arsenal women sharing the Emirates Stadium on a full-time basis with the men’s side.
Arsenal currently play most of their home matches at Meadow Park, home of Boreham Wood Football Club.
Recently, however, they have been playing big matches at the Emirates, such as Saturday’s first vs third clash with Manchester United, which has yet again seen more than 40,000 tickets sold.
Arsenal set a new FA WSL attendance record of 47,367 for their 4-0 drubbing of Tottenham at the Emirates earlier this season.
“The long-term vision is for Emirates Stadium to be the home of Arsenal Women and the home of Arsenal men,” Venkatesham told Telegraph Sport.
“It’s hard to put a timeline on it and it’s hard to know for sure if and how we’ll achieve it, but that has to be the vision.
“I’m not going to pretend for a moment it’s straightforward to get there – there are questions around ‘how do you handle it operationally, how to deal with fixture clashes? How do you deal with making sure that pitch is in tip-top quality? How can you be sure the demand is there?’
“But that’s the ambition, that’s where we need to get to.
“It won’t be easy. There are challenges and it won’t be linear. But when you you see the types of demand that we saw for Spurs [at home in September], the demand that we see for the Manchester United game, and we also see in Borehamwood [sic] that we increasingly sell out that stadium, it gives us more confidence that we can get there.”
One of the biggest challenges will indeed be fixture clashes.
The Premier League and FA WSL regularly schedule Arsenal men’s and women’s matches in such a way as to make it impossible for a fan to attend both games.
Fixing that alone would likely increase crowd sizes across the women’s game.