PEOPLE have shared their frustration over a "lack of promotion" of Leigh businesses during the Women's Euro 2022 tournament.

Local communities have been revelling in football fever since the Euros arrived in the borough, with Leigh Sports Village set to host four games during the tournament.

After the opening game of the tournament in Manchester last Wednesday, a Fans Festival took over Civic Square before the Portugal and Switzerland game at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday, July 9.

Leigh Journal: Leigh Sports Village hosted Portugal and Switzerland on Saturday, July 9Leigh Sports Village hosted Portugal and Switzerland on Saturday, July 9

The UEFA app and website, which provides information about each host city, notes the attraction of Pennington Flash and Leigh town centre as an area to eat out.

However, a further exploration of the food and drink venues on the app directs users to a Visit Manchester website, which offers up establishments across Wigan borough but none in Leigh.

With the tournament bringing continental attention to the borough, Steven Tomlinson, director of 'Leigh Means Business', said that more could be done to capitalise on the opportunity and direct fans to pubs and restaurants close to the Sports Village.

Leigh Journal: Residents have said that more could be done to direct fans to local businesses in LeighResidents have said that more could be done to direct fans to local businesses in Leigh

Steven said: "Speaking to local businesses, everybody is 100% behind the Euros being here in Leigh, and it's a huge opportunity for local business.

"But I think people are just a bit baffled with the advertising and marketing of the event, as it doesn't make sense not to include any hospitality venues in the town hosting the games.

"It's a great thing for Leigh but it's frustrating that the first time we get to show off the town at such an event, there is a lack of promotion of local businesses and it's rebranded under another town."

Steven suggested that a local tourist guide for restaurants, pubs and cafes could be an option to attract travelling fans to the area before and after the Leigh Sports Village games - as illustrated here.

In response, the Council said that hosting an occasion such as the Women's Euros is an opportunity to showcase the entire borough and inspire the next generation of athletes across the district centres.

Leigh Journal: Leader of the Council, David Molyneux Leader of the Council, David Molyneux

The Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux MBE, said: “We are incredibly proud to be a host venue for such a ground-breaking tournament that is putting Leigh and our entire borough on the map.

“The impact of hosting a tournament such as this is borough-wide, through the legacy programme in particular, and will benefit our communities for years to come.

“The matches are, of course, being played at Leigh Sports Village, but the cultural projects and the inspiration for our next generation of athletes is for the whole of Wigan Borough.

“Since being unveiled as a host venue in 2019, we have worked with UEFA to ensure we showcase our entire borough, not just Leigh, or Wigan, but our network of district centres.

“Our most high-profile tourist destinations, such as Pennington Flash and Haigh Woodland Park feature prominently given the opportunity to welcome new visitors.

“In recent weeks we have been engaging with communities and businesses in Leigh and have received a positive response, looking forward to kick-off on Saturday.

“Hosting the Women’s EURO 2022 is a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together and welcome new visitors, showing the world the brilliant and warm community spirit that we have to offer.”

Leigh Journal: A young Switzerland fan at Leigh Sports Village (Pic: PA)A young Switzerland fan at Leigh Sports Village (Pic: PA)

UEFA also responded to the concerns over the lack of advertising for individual businesses.

In a statement they gave the following bullet points:

  • Wigan Council is the hosting authority and wanted to reflect both Wigan and the town of Leigh in its name
  • The arts, heritage and legacy programmes are being delivered across the whole borough to engage all local residents
  • Wigan Council is hosting a Fan Party on matchdays in Leigh Civic Square which will bring fans in early to the centre of the town, driving footfall and extra spend for local businesses
  • There are lots of extra events in Leigh (promoted on the official UEFA app) to drive local footfall and spend including The Supercompensation Cycle, the UEFA Trailblazers art exhibition in The Turnpike and an outdoor exhibition in Leigh Civic Centre
  • The app and event guide on also promotes eating in Leigh Town Centre, and visiting Leigh Archives, Pennington Flash as well as a large section encouraging fans to join all the activities in Leigh Town Centre on matchdays. We cannot promote individual businesses through the app and as such any points of interests that have been promoted are larger tourist sites.