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Shelbourne to trial 'pay what you like scheme' for final WNL home game of the year

Thu, Oct 17 2019

Shelbourne FC will trial a “Pay What You Like” scheme for their final Só Hotels Women’s National League home game of the season against Wexford Youths Women.

The match, which will be Shels’ second last game of the season will take place this Sunday, October 20 at 2pm Tolka Park, with supporters being asked to pay what they deem appropriate for admission.

Shelbourne CEO David O’Connor explained the reasons behind the trial, which if successful, the club will consider continuing with the scheme in the 2020 season.

"Shelbourne FC aspires to equality and parity of esteem for all our players and we took some important steps in that direction for the 2019 season.

“The challenge now is to keep up that momentum and all of us who support these aims need to ask the tough question of how this can be achieved while gate receipts and sponsorship income for women's football continues to be considerably lower than for the men's game.

O’Connor explained the differences in attendances and usual admission price between the club’s men’s League of Ireland matches and the women’s WNL matches.

"The market price for a men's match in the National League is €15 while it's €5 for a women's match. We typically get attendances of 1,000 or more for a men's match while a women's match might get 50 or 60 people and some of those would be under 16s that we admit free of charge,” O’Connor said.

“There's an argument that says we shouldn't charge at all to encourage attendance but match costs for a women's match are comparable to the costs of a men's match and have to be met somehow. The Club subsidises costs to a degree but there is still a shortfall.

"We're trialling this 'Pay What You Like' scheme to see what value supporters that come to a WNL game put on it themselves. If it's a success, we'll consider sticking with it for the 2020 season.”

This is another initiative undertaken by Shelbourne as they look to increase the profile of their women's teams, having previously unified the club's social media channels.

Both the men's and women's teams also have combined kit and sponsorship deals with WNL matches also being played in Tolka Park.

The game against Wexford Youths will be Shelbourne’s second last game of the season as they look to push the title race to the last day of the season.

A 2-1 win over top of the table Peamount United on Saturday, in a game won by Rebecca Cooke’s goal of the season contender, kept the title race alive, leaving Shels two points adrift of the league leaders with two games to play.

Shels face DLR Waves away after playing Wexford Youths while Peamount are away to DLR Waves before facing Cork City at home.