Have The FA Missed The Mark With Neutral Tickets For Women's FA Cup Final?

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final
16:00, 18 Apr 2023

Wembley is likely to be sold out for Manchester United v Chelsea in the Women’s FA Cup Final on May 14. It’s a historic occasion, as the world record attendance for a domestic women’s club match is likely to be smashed with the 90,000 capacity stadium set to be full for the first time.

The national stadium was full for the Euro 2021 final and 91,648 fans turned up at the Camp Nou to watch Barcelona in the women’s Champions League - but for a domestic game, this will break all records. It’s a sign of the times and another indicator that the women’s game is now a key part of the public’s conscious. 

The players are now superstars and Chelsea vs Manchester United is a fitting finale to the FA Cup, as the current top two in the WSL eye up an impressive domestic double this term. With Wembley set to be full and interest in this match-up at an all-time high, everything seems positive. But the FA may have missed the mark with how they have allocated the tickets. 


65,000 tickets were sold in ‘neutral areas’ before the semi-finals had even taken place. The tickets have been on sale for weeks and the uptake has been impressive - ensuring that the maximum possible number of tickets will be sold ahead of the final. However, each club has only been given 8,000 tickets to sell to their own fans. 

"I don't know how many it is in the men's game," United boss Marc Skinner said.

"But to give clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United 8,000 tickets to sell, it's just crazy in my opinion."

Clubs in the men’s FA Cup final can expect around 30,000 tickets apiece, and social media has been awash with fans complaining about this decision. Chelsea and Man Utd are two of the biggest clubs in the game and there is clearly a huge amount of interest from fans trying to get tickets to the final. It’s provided some with a dilemma. 

Should they risk getting tickets in the allocated end from the club after the semi-finals, or should they have just bought them in the neutral end. Some Chelsea fans with tickets to the final are now trying to get tickets from the club, while the general feeling is that this whole situation has been mishandled. 

Importantly, this isn’t a Lionesses game where the aim is just to sell as many tickets as possible. This is an FA Cup final where the fans and atmosphere is vitally important. The neutral section has even left fans wondering whether they are allowed to wear their team colours, while even with a friendly atmosphere at these games, there is going to be some frustration if fans are placed in the ‘wrong’ area. 

You want to feel part of something bigger as a football fan. Sat with ‘your people’ and able to cheer your team on. Not just a figure on an attendance sheet. Some of the great images from FA Cup finals have been the two ends proudly showing their team colours before the match, while one end celebrates come full-time. This moment has been robbed of fanbases that were both big enough to provide it. 

That is the crux of the issue. The FA have underestimated the size of the fanbases, and the natural interest around this game. Instead they’ve sold tickets to anybody who wants one and in doing so, harmed the final product instead of enhancing it. Who knows how many fans that have tickets in the neutral area just won’t both turning up - while Man Utd or Chelsea fans are left to watch from home.

Women’s football has grown at a rapid rate, and the fact that the FA Cup final is at Wembley and sold out - is an incredible achievement. But the FA must start putting fans and the matchday experience first rather than the attendance figures. 

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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