England will fly to next year’s World Cup in business class, head coach, Sarina Wiegman, has confirmed following controversy over the Lionesses travelling in cheaper seats to the SheBelieves Cup in America in 2020.
Wiegman said the squad will be booked on the most comfortable flights possible for the two-day voyage to Australia and New Zealand next summer.
The decision comes after England’s women travelled in premium economy to the SheBelieves cup in America two years ago, while the senior men’s team routinely travel in business or first class.
Phil Neville, the Lionesses coach at the time, said premium economy was the only option available to ensure the squad could travel together, due to the late scheduling of the fixtures. The squad could have taken two separate flights in business class but Neville was concerned about potential disruption caused by splitting the team up. It came two years after the Lionesses flew economy to the SheBelieves Cup in America in 2018.
Speaking after the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, Wiegman said there would be no such controversy next year.
“We’ll fly business class, yeah. That’s changed too. It’s really good,” she said. “You want to recover real quick and you have to perform so you’re trying to travel under the most comfortable circumstances.”
The Lionesses will be based near Gosford, southeast Australia, for the tournament which kicks off on 20 July next year. England’s three group games are in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, meaning they will have to travel by aeroplane to the latter two.
Wiegman said it “makes such a difference to travel business class because you can sleep, you can rest, you can just lay down”.
She said there was “absolutely no complacency” in the camp after their historic Euros win at Wembley last summer. She added: “[There is] absolutely lots of eagerness but we have to improve our game because it goes so quick and there’s so many very good countries that will be competing in the World Cup.”