All-female grounds team to make history in North London derby

History will be made in the Barclays Women’s Super League North London derby when an all-female grounds team prepare the Emirates Stadium pitch.

The fixture will be a landmark moment for women working across the game when Arsenal face Tottenham on Sunday 3 March, with more than 50,000 tickets already sold.

The Women’s Super League and Women in Football have collaborated with the Grounds Management Association and Arsenal FC to help 13 grounds professionals become the first all-female team to work across a Women’s Super League match.

The trailblazing team will help shine a spotlight on women’s vital contribution to sport to encourage more to consider a role in ground management.

Women in Football CEO Yvonne Harrison said: “Football could not exist without a pitch to play on, and the game as we know and love it depends on the vital contributions made by women in every area.

“Today and every day, let’s celebrate the female workforce in football right across our sporting ecosystem, starting right here with the 13 talented female grounds staff laying the foundations for a massive fixture in the Barclays Women’s Super League.”

Despite an uplift of women playing sport across all levels, only 2% of the grounds management sector is female.

Arsenal groundsperson Tara Sandford will lead the team of 13, who come from different venues across a variety of sporting and educational facilities.

Sandford will kick off proceedings when she works on Arsenal’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle United on Saturday, alongside colleague and apprentice groundsperson Bobbie Murphy.

Sandford said: “Being a part of the first all-women grounds team to prepare a Barclays Women’s Super League match has been hugely exciting for me on both a personal and professional level.

“The consistent level of support we have seen for our women’s team this season shows how much the game continues to grow.

“It’s important that we harness this to encourage more girls to pursue a career in football.

“I hope our all-female grounds team showcases the different opportunities that exist within the game and inspires more women to get into the game.”

The milestone moment is also backed by CEO of the Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship Nikki Doucet, who has set out to reimagine the top two tiers of women’s football in England.

She said: “The Women’s Professional Game and Football Association are very proud to be a part of this showcase event, bringing some of the brightest talents working within our industry and beyond deservedly to the fore.

“There are so many incredible women working not only throughout football but across many other industries.

“It is amazing that we have been able to bring 13 of the country’s most highly rated female ground staff together to play such a crucial role for a tentpole fixture in our calendar.”

Image: Women in Football via Beat Media Group

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