English football’s authorities are at odds over the scheduling of the flagship fixture in the women’s calendar, the FA Cup final.
The Premier League are unhappy at being painted as the villains after West Ham failed in their attempts to move their league game with Southampton on Saturday May 4 to an earlier kick-off.
West Ham wanted fans to be able to attend both the Premier League game and the Wembley women’s final between their WSL side and Manchester City later on the same day.
West Ham players celebrate after winning their Women’s FA Cup semi-final on penalties
The Hammers released a statement on Tuesday confirming their bid was rejected by the Premier League to avoid ‘potential inconvenience’ to the Southampton fans who had already made travel plans.
But league chiefs insist the date and time which clashes with top-flight games was chosen by the FA without them being consulted and by the time they were asked both Southampton and their fans had already finalised their plans for a 3pm kick-off.
The FA, meanwhile, are satisfied that having selected the cup final date ahead of the season there was sufficient advance notice of a potential fixture clash.
They had also sold 23,000 tickets for the final before the semis, a significantly larger number of fans who would have to change their arrangements, compared to the 3,000 Southampton supporters travelling to the London Stadium, if the cup final date was moved.
English football’s governing body are on course to break last year’s record attendance of 45,000.
An FA spokesperson said: ‘As with any flagship fixture in football, such as the men’s Emirates FA Cup Final, we would not move the date or kick off time of the game once it has been agreed in collaboration with the broadcasters, the local authorities, the police and the Safety Advisory Group.
‘Over 23,000 tickets for the Final were sold in advance of the Semi Finals, so we would also not wish to inconvenience those fans.’
Final will take place at Wembley, under an hour after the men play at London Stadium (above)