History made! Manchester United Women enjoy their first ever taste of action at Old Trafford against West Ham… but WSL match has NOT be screened after FA officials blocked the side’s bid to show match 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 host West Ham at the Theatre of Dreams in the Women’s Super League on Saturday, with the encounter having got underway at 11:30.
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 for their Women’s Super League clash with West Ham.
Manchester United women are playing at Old Trafford for the first time on Saturday
Casey Stoney’s United side host West Ham in the Women’s Super League at Old Trafford
Despite the historical day in Manchester and with a lack of football on this weekend, the match was 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.
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
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.
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.
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…