New FA Women’s Super League regulations designed to offer easier access to tickets for away fans have been welcomed by supporters’ groups.
A new FA 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.
The requirement is being introduced to reflect the marked increase in supporters attending WSL matches, following a year of record attendances and audiences across the women’s professional game.
Heather Cowan, head of league operations, 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.”
Increase in demand
Last season saw a 170% 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 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.
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.”