History made! Man United Women enjoy their first taste of action at Old Trafford against West Ham… but the match has NOT been screened after FA officials blocked their bid to show it on TV
It was a momentous occasion for Manchester United’s Women’s team on Saturday as they got their first taste of action at Old Trafford against West Ham.
Casey Stoney’s side kicked off against West Ham at 11:30 and will look to make the most of their opportunity playing at the Theatre of Dreams.
The team usually play their home matches at Leigh Sports Village but the international break in the men’s game offered a chance to switch to the men’s ground – which has a capacity of 76,000 – for the WSL encounter.
Manchester United’s Women’s side hosted West Ham in the WSL on Saturday at Old Trafford
Lauren James of United, sister of Chelsea star Reece, in action early on in Manchester
Saturday’s WSL encounter vs West Ham was United’s Women’s first ever match at Old Trafford
Ella Toone shoots at goal as the hosts dominated the early proceedings against the Hammers
Despite the historical day in Manchester and with a lack of football on this weekend, the match was somehow not selected for television.
Club officials had been left stunned after their plans to broadcast Saturday’s match to the biggest audience possible hit a bureaucratic brick wall.
The club announced the symbolic switch from their usual Leigh Sports Village venue after broadcasters BT Sport and the BBC had made their picks.
However, they expected some flexibility from the channels, which was not forthcoming.
Instead, the only place to watch the game is through the FA Player or on BT Sport via the red button.
Both sets of players take the knee prior to kick-off on what was a momentous occasion
It was a historic day for Casey Stoney’s side playing their first ever match at Old Trafford
United’s Women usually play their home matches at Leigh Sports Village
Sportsmail revealed on Friday that United, at their own expense, have paid for multiple cameras and an outside broadcast team for the game, as the FA Player only uses one. They were concerned that a single camera operation would devalue the event.
Bearing in mind that gesture of goodwill, United also asked the FA if they could screen the match on MUTV for free — meaning hundreds of thousands of people could tune in to watch a landmark occasion for the sport.
However, that suggestion was met with a point-blank refusal, which has caused much confusion.
Rules dictate that clubs can only broadcast a maximum of three matches on their own channels and United have already done so. Despite their request, no exception has been made. United declined to comment, but insiders said they have been left ‘astonished’ by a perceived lack of cooperation.
‘This is an ideal opportunity missed,’ they explained.
‘This is the biggest club in the country making a statement on a weekend when there is no Premier League or Championship football and we’re passing up the chance to get it in front of as many eyes as possible.’
More to follow…
Ella Toone warms up for United ahead of kick-off in Manchester on the weekend
Jackie Groenen takes a shot at goal during United’s warm up at Old Trafford