Manchester United women are left baffled after FA officials BLOCKED their bid to screen their first WSL match at Old Trafford against West Ham as the club bemoan ‘missed opportunity’ to reach bigger audience
- Man United women were incensed by FA’s refusal to air their clash v West Ham
- Casey Stoney’s side take on the Hammers in the first WSL match at Old Trafford
- The club have gone to great lengths to ensure the game is broadcasted widely
- The FA blocked United from showing the game on their MUTV service for free
- The only place to watch the game will be on the FA Player or BT Sport red button
Manchester United officials have been left stunned after their plans to broadcast Saturday’s first Women’s Super League match at Old Trafford to the biggest audience possible hit a bureaucratic brick wall.
Casey Stoney’s side take on West Ham at the Theatre of Dreams, in their debut at the iconic stadium. 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 has not been forthcoming.
Instead, the only place to watch the game — which is being played on a weekend devoid of Premier League and Championship action — is through the FA Player or on BT Sport via the red button.
Man United women were left stunned by the FA’s refusal to let Casey Stone’s side screen their WSL clash on Saturday
The team will play their first ever WSL game at Old Trafford against West Ham United
Sportsmail can reveal that United, at their own expense, have paid for multiple cameras and an outside broadcast team for the 11.30am kick-off, 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.
United have been left ‘astonished’ and are frustrated after an ‘ideal opportunity missed’ to reach a much bigger audience
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.’