New FA regulations in the Barclays Women’s Super League which will offer easier access to tickets for away fans have been welcomed by supporters’ groups.
A new policy implemented over the coming season will see supporters of the women’s top-flight league able to purchase tickets for away fixtures through their own club’s ticketing sites.
Previous club policies had been required to cover home matches only, and fans often had to register with opposition clubs to access away tickets. Clubs will now be asked to consider an away match ticketing strategy within their licensing agreements.
Backed by the Football Supporters’ Association, the requirement is being introduced to reflect the marked increase in supporters attending Barclays WSL matches, following a year of record attendances and audiences across the women’s professional game.
Last season saw a 170 per cent rise in attendances against 2021-22 figures, with many clubs making bigger ‘main’ stadia scheduling pledges for the season ahead to reflect the increase in demand.
The season average attendance at Barclays WSL games across the 2022-23 season grew to 5,222 from 1,931 in 2021-22, with a cumulative attendance of 689,297.
High-profile successes include Arsenal’s north London derby against Spurs at the Emirates Stadium, which attracted a record crowd for a women’s domestic fixture of 47,367 fans.
Heather Cowan, head of league operations for the women’s professional game at the FA, said: “We’ve reached a point in the Barclays WSL where it’s a must to consider travelling fans and the availability of away tickets.
“Crucially, we’re not specifying how clubs go about this. The aim is to recognise the increase in demand and the loyalty of fans who are on a journey with their clubs.
“We expect there to be an evolution of this policy over time. Clubs will initially work out the best way forward for them with our support, and, as with all of our work, we will grow and develop this alongside the game.”
Deborah Dilworth, head of women’s football at the Football Supporters’ Association, said: “This is good news for supporters – it’ll be a smoother process to purchase away tickets which, in turn, will encourage travelling numbers and boost atmospheres inside stadiums.
“We’d encourage all clubs to think about their ticketing from a fan’s perspective and work with supporters’ groups to develop the best policies for everyone.
“We’d like to thank the FA for listening to our supporters’ group on this issue and working with clubs to solve the issue – it shows the benefits of fan engagement.”