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Paddy Power Pokes Fun at UEFA’s Stadium Choices

Last week, Flutter officially confirmed the leave of Paddy Power’s chief executive officer Victor Corcoran. Now, the Irish sportsbook is in the news again for ridiculing the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for its choice of a location that would host Women’s Euros. The sportsbook flew 25-feet inflatable arrows over Belgium vs Iceland game as a means of questioning why the Academy Stadium has been selected to host such a major tournament. The sportsbook also flew an arrow pointing to the Etihad Stadium in the background, suggesting it would have been the better option for the event. 

Fans Agree With Paddy Powers

Two-thirds of the 1,000+ people interviewed by YOLO Research on the matter expressed their outrage regarding the small-sized stadium chosen for the Women’s EURO 2022. They all shared the sportsbook’s opinion regarding the unambitious stadium that is located next to Manchester City’s training ground. A total of 67% of all respondents believed UEFA’s choice of stadia expressed a lack of respect shown for the important women’s event. The same people considered the choice to be detrimental to the growth of women’s football.

Some of the alternative stadia that were in the books for the event were Rotherham’s New York Stadium and Wigan’s Leigh Sports Village. Paddy Power suggested Etihad Stadium as a better option. The operator chose to float a huge inflatable arrow in the northwest corner of the Academy Stadium during the same Belgium versus Iceland game. The arrow-shaped 25x11x5-feet balloon pointed to the empty Etihad Stadium located only 710 yards away, saying “Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a Euros game?”

Controversial Decision

UEFA’s decision to play the women’s matches at the Academy Stadium instead of the Etihad Stadium or any other alternative stadium was a controversial one. Many people found the decision to be odd since Old Trafford hosted the opening game of the tourney with close to 69,000 attendees. 

While the Belgium VS Iceland game sold out all its tickets, its capacity was also drastically reduced since two stands at the Academy Stadium can only be used for standing. According to UEFA regulations, standing is not allowed during events. Accordingly, the stadium’s total capacity was capped at 5,000 people.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power talked about the massive progress recorded by women’s games in the past few years while calling the tournament “a great opportunity for teams to play in front of record crowds all over the country” and keep building on the momentum. The same spokesperson said the “fear of empty seats” should not discourage decision-makers when selecting stadiums for future events. 

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