- 25ft inflatable flies over Belgium vs Iceland game to question why an academy stadium is being used for a major tournament
- Giant inflatable arrow points to 55,000-seater Etihad Stadium in background as a more suitable alternative
- Research* shows two-thirds of fans outraged at the size of Women’s EURO 2022 host stadiums
MANCHESTER, England, July 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Cheeky Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is causing mischief again, this time poking fun at the unacceptably low-key and unambitious stadia that have been picked for this summer’s Women’s Euros.
The bookie floated a giant inflatable arrow in the Northwest corner of Man City’s Academy Stadium during Sunday’s Belgium v Iceland match, pointing out that Manchester City’s 55,000-capacity Etihad Stadium, a mere 650 metres away, is free and available in the background.
The massive 25x11x5ft inflatable carries the tongue-in-cheek message, “Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a Euros game?” and could be seen floating at the corner of the open stadium by players and fans as the sold-out match played out in front of a reduced-capacity crowd.
Both ends of Man City’s Academy Stadium are standing terraces (something not permitted in UEFA competitions) meaning normal capacity is reduced for games at the venue, taking the total capacity to just 5,000 spectators.
With images of the 25-foot balloon captured by surprised members of the public, support for the Irish bookie’s most recent daring stunt has been gathering pace quickly on social media.
Research* undertaken by Paddy Power shows two-thirds (67%) of Brits think that the venue selections are a shame or show a lack of respect, with two-thirds (66%) saying the stadium decisions will be detrimental to the progression of women’s football.
Spokesperson, Paddy Power, said: “The women’s game has progressed massively in recent years, and this tournament was a great opportunity for teams to play in front of record crowds all over the country and accelerate that growth.
“The fear of empty seats really shouldn’t put the footballing bosses off being more ambitious in their stadium selection – we’re all used to a half empty Etihad most weeks anyway!”
The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 takes place between 6th-31st July.
Notes to editors
*Research was undertaken by Yolo Research on Wednesday, 6 July 2022 with a total sample size of 1,011 UK respondents.