Chelsea Women

Emma Hayes calls on women's football to follow Barcelona's example after Camp Nou record crowd

Ali Rampling
Barcelona attracted a world record attendance in the Champions League
Barcelona attracted a world record attendance in the Champions League / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has called on women's football to follow the example set by Barcelona, after the European champions progressed to the Champions League semi finals with victory over Real Madrid in front of a record crowd of 91,553 on Wednesday evening.

The figure was a world record attendance for an official women's football match, with the electric atmosphere and jubilant crowd scenes a sight to behold. Barcelona won the fixture 5-2 to run out 8-3 aggregate winners over their rivals.

Chelsea were comfortably beaten by Barcelona in the 2021 Champions League final, and Hayes was full of praise for how the club are continuing to build their women's team.

"The crowd were amazing," Hayes said. "It's of no surprise to me; that football club have put a tremendous investment into the women's game, including putting together a wonderful team and building a product off the pitch.

"It's not a surprise and long may that continue because Barcelona can serve as an example to us all on how to fill football stadiums. It was absolutely brilliant."

Although not on quite the same scale as Camp Nou, Chelsea are in action at Kingsmeadow on Sunday as they take on Reading in the WSL, looking to maintain their lead at the league summit.

Fans are permitted to purchase tickets for Chelsea's women's matches again after the government altered the club's licence, and Hayes is looking forward to attracting a decent crowd once more.

"I hope we'll push hard to get as many in as we can even though it's a 6:45 kickoff," the Chelsea boss added. "But I know that they're critical to the way that we play and how we perform so the more the merrier."