Fans of five leading WSL sides have given their thoughts on the COVID-19 shutdown and their chances of returning to stadiums once the disruption caused by the pandemic has eased, and voiding the season has not proved a popular option.
The surveys, conducted by five fangroups who are FSA affiliates – The Barmy Army (Manchester United Women), the Bristol City Women’s Supporters’ Club, the Chelsea Women Supporters Group, the Liverpool Women’s Supporters Club and the Manchester City Women FC’s Official Supporters Club – gathered the opinions of more than 600 fans across their respective fanbases.
Fans were asked their views on how they wanted the 2019/20 season to end, as well as their likelihood of returning to WSL stadiums.
The majority of those surveyed were regular matchgoers – almost two thirds had attended five or more WSL games this season (63.5%), while a further quarter (24.3%) had attended between one and four matches in 2019/20.
Voiding the season and expunging the results was the least favoured outcome of just over half of those surveyed (51.5%), but there was no consensus on the best way to finish the season.
Four in ten fans (39.8%) wanted the games played out when it was safe to do so, even if that meant completing fixtures behind closed doors, while three in ten (31.2%) preferred the option of finishing the season now and deciding positions based on a points-per-game model.
When it came to getting back into stadiums, nearly three quarters of those surveyed (70.3%) said they would be likely to return to stadiums if matches resumed under normal circumstances this year.
More worryingly for clubs, however, were the 11.5% of respondents who said that even if clubs took extra safety precautions, such as free hand sanitiser, staff with masks and socially distanced stadiums with reduced capacities, they would not be likely to return.