Old Trafford hosts Change The Game event

Saturday 26 March 2022 11:30

Leading figures from across sport and the media came together at Old Trafford on Friday, to celebrate the growth of women’s football ahead of Sunday’s historic first appearance by Manchester United Women in front of a crowd at the Theatre of Dreams.

Head coach Marc Skinner and players Millie Turner and Aoife Mannion were among the guests at the ‘Game Changers’ event at Old Trafford, with the trio speaking of their excitement about the looming Women’s Super League clash with Everton and their longer-term hopes for the women’s game.

Kelly Simmons OBE, Director of the Women’s Professional Game at the FA, also took part in the day-long conference, which was packed with debate and discussion about the positive progress already made by women’s football – and the action still needed to help it reach its full potential.

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The event was part of Manchester United’s ‘Change the Game’ campaign, launched earlier this month to celebrate the women who are helping drive gender diversity across Manchester United and transforming attitudes to women in football – on and off the pitch.

An audience of Manchester United employees and guests heard from some of the club’s own women leaders, as well as from representatives of club partners Tezos, TeamViewer and Kohler about their growing engagement with women’s football as it grows in popularity.
Another session explored the rapid growth in media coverage of the women’s game, with former Manchester United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain leading a discussion with Yvonne Harrison, Chief Executive of networking group Women in Football. Also taking part were BBC Sport assistant editor and Women’s Sport Lead Anna Thompson and Nia Wyn Thomas, a senior producer for Sky Sports’ coverage of the WSL.

Visibility is the key to inspiring the next generation of women footballers and fans, and there are no bigger champions of the sport than the BBC and Sky. Together, the broadcasters will have delivered a record 66 live matches by the end of the 2021/22 season, helping drive increased audiences and interest.
Speakers at the event included Collette Roche, Manchester United's chief operating officer.
The importance of collaboration between different women’s sports was highlighted by Laura Jackson and Georgie Boyce of Lancashire Cricket, which this week announced a partnership with Manchester United to support each other’s women’s teams.

The event closed with Skinner, Turner and Mannion giving a preview of Sunday’s game, with three crucial WSL points at stake in the tense race for the top-three finish which would secure a place in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League. United go into the Everton clash in third place ahead of local rivals Manchester City on goal difference.

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Skinner and his players spoke of their determination to make Sunday a day to remember as the team and tens of thousands of fans write a new chapter in the history of Old Trafford.

Digital tickets for the game will remain available until kick-off, priced at £6 for adults and £3 for under 16s and over 65s, and can be accessed via manutd.com/womenstickets.

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