First women's football game since lockdown to take place at historic double Community Shield Match

Wembley is preparing to host a historic double Community Shield clash on Saturday as both the men's and women's battle it out.

It will be the first time in more than a decade that the women's match has taken place and it is being held just before the men's Arsenal vs Liverpool.

It's been a difficult year for football and for the women's game in particular after the pandemic led to a wave of cancelled matches across the world.

The game is the first domestic women’s match since the League Cup final on February 29.

A Support Women's Football banner during at a FA Women's Super League match. Credit: PA

The Community Shield is an annual curtain-raiser charity match held between the winners of the Premier League and the current holders of the FA Cup.

There are hopes that Saturday's Manchester City vs Chelsea clash will raise the profile of the women's game.

Manchester City player Georgia Stanway discusses the game

It will be the first time the women’s event has taken place since 2008 when Macclesfield’s Moss Rose ground hosted Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Everton.

Emma Hayes, the head of Chelsea Women FC called it tomorrows game a "fantastic way" to kick off the new domestic season after a five-month break.

Emma Hayes, manager of Chelsea Women FC. Credit: PA

The women’s match will also be shown on terrestrial television, an opportunity Hayes wants to benefit from.Ms Hayes said: “I think the FA’s decision-making across this period on the women’s side has been outstanding,”“I think the fact that we have the opportunity to start the Community Shield live on television shows that we are working together to maximise the broadcast opportunities along with the commercial ones and I think that collective approach is one that has become the norm in the women’s game.”

Chelsea qualified for the season curtain-raiser having been awarded the Women’s Super League title on a points-per-game basis after the league was brought to a halt in May.

City was one point ahead at the time but the west London club had played a game less.

The match will take place at 12.30pm, followed by the 4.30pm game between recently-crowned FA Cup winners Arsenal taking on Premier League champions Liverpool.

Chelsea players applaud the crowd after the final whistle during the FA Women's Super League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Credit: PA

As with all recent major football events, the matches will be played out in front of empty stands due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Hayes said: “First of all, it’s nice to play Man City for the first time at Wembley.”

“We’ve missed each other with a lot of semi-final appearances either against each other or one or both of us have not made the final at the same time, so it’s nice to finally play them there.

"It’s a fantastic way to open the season domestically, at the biggest stage, the top two teams in terms of the placings they finished in last season and everybody’s really excited and I can’t think of a better way to open the season this year.”

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “It’s a sign of our commitment to the women’s game and its growth, to have a curtain raiser that mirrors that of the men."