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Women’s Super League derbies to be held at Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge

MANCHESTER City and Chelsea will play their opening matches of the Women’s Super League season at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge (above) respectively, the clubs have confirmed.

City’s derby with Manchester United on September 7 and Chelsea’s all-London clash with Tottenham the following day will both be staged at the Premier League grounds, with the men’s top flight on an international break.

The decision to move the most high-profile WSL season-openers to large stadiums is part of a wider initiative by the Football Association and the clubs to build on the interest generated by England’s run at the Women’s World Cup.

Fans can claim up to four free tickets for the London derby, while Manchester City are offering up to three free tickets for under-16s per paying adult, with adult tickets at £7.

City’s women have only appeared at the Etihad once before, in 2014, and usually play at the 7,000-capacity Academy Stadium across the road.

‘We are all very excited to play our first home game of the season at the Etihad Stadium and, better yet, in a Manchester derby,’ said England captain Steph Houghton, who has fellow Lionesses stars Jill Scott and Ellen White as club-mates.

‘Big games like this are the ones you want to be in.’