Vinai Venkatesham wants Arsenal Women to play all their home matches at Emirates Stadium in the future.
While the Gunners’ CEO admits a number of operational challenges would need to be overcome, he believes the demand for tickets to watch Jonas Eidevall’s side in N5 gives the club confidence that it’s an ambition worth pursuing.
“The long-term vision is for Emirates Stadium to be the home of Arsenal Women and the home of Arsenal men,” Venkatesham told The Telegraph.
“It’s hard to put a timeline on it and it’s hard to know for sure if and how we’ll achieve it, but that has to be the vision.
“I’m not going to pretend for a moment it’s straightforward to get there – there are questions around ‘how do you handle it operationally, how to deal with fixture clashes? How do you deal with making sure that pitch is in tip-top quality? How can you be sure the demand is there?’ But that’s the ambition, that’s where we need to get to.
“It won’t be easy. There are challenges and it won’t be linear. But when you see the types of demand that we saw for Spurs [at home in September], the demand that we see for the Manchester United game, and we also see in Borehamwood that we increasingly sell out that stadium, it gives us more confidence that we can get there.
He added: “It’s such an exciting time for women’s football, and as a club we really feel like it’s our responsibility, given our history and heritage and our standing in the game, to be on the forefront of this new era for women’s football.”
Arsenal Women play the majority of their home games at Borehamwood’s 4,500-capacity Meadow Park with higher-profile WSL encounters and Champions League games taking place at the Emirates.
In the summer, the club sold 1,500 season tickets – double the number sold last season – and set a new WSL attendance record in September when 47,367 watched the team beat Sp*rs 4-0 in the north London derby.
The Gunners are expecting another bumper crowd at the Emirates this evening when Eidevall’s table-topping Gunners take on third-place Manchester United.
You can read Tim Stillman’s match preview, here. If you’re not able to make the game, it is being broadcast in the UK on Sky Sports at 5.30pm.