England has been confirmed as the host nation for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 following a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Dublin yesterday.
This will be the next main target for the Irish Women’s team who finished third in qualification for next year’s World Cup behind the Netherlands and Norway earlier this year.
The Championship will be played at eight venues across England in the summer of 2021 before concluding with a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium.
England’s bid was unopposed and it means that they will qualify automatically as the host nation.
The FA’s decision to bid was part of its ‘Gameplan for Growth’ strategy to grow the women’s game, and followed the successful Euro 2017 campaign in the Netherlands which saw England reach the semi-finals, generating a record peak audience of four million TV viewers in the UK.
The cities and stadia that will be used for the tournament are:
Brighton & Hove – Amex Stadium
London – Wembley Stadium connected by EE
London – Brentford Community Stadium
Milton Keynes – Stadium MK
Manchester – Manchester City Academy Stadium
Nottingham – The City Ground
Rotherham – AESSEAL New York Stadium
Sheffield – Bramall Lane
Southampton – St. Mary’s Stadium
The build-up to the tournament will commence pretty quickly with the draw for the qualifying group stage taking place on 22 February next year.
Following that, the qualifiers will be played from August 2019 to September 2020 to determine 12 of the finalists, with the play-offs determining the last three entrants in October 2020.
“Bringing Euro 2021 to England will be a tremendous opportunity to celebrate women’s football and will allow us to amplify our significant commitment to growing the game,” said Martin Glenn of the FA.
“In January, we pledged an additional £50m investment over the next six years and grassroots initiatives like our popular SSE Wildcats scheme for 5-11-year-old girls has seen the number of centres more than quadruple over the past year to 880.”
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact this tournament will have on inspiring the next generation. Young girls and boys will be lifted by the chance to see Europe’s elite on their doorstep and it can only help the collective effort across our leagues and clubs to grow the game even further.”
“This is fantastic news for The FA, the country and, crucially, for the future development of girls’ and women’s football in England,” added Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football.
“Tournaments of the scale and profile of Euro 2021 have the power to inspire a new generation of young girls, and women of all ages, to get involved in the sport – for fitness, competition or just pure enjoyment, as well as the opportunity to grow support for the women’s game at both a club and national level.”
“That’s exactly what our Gameplan for Growth strategy, launched in 2017, set out to achieve. A home Euros in 2021 has the potential to be a pivotal moment in the development of the women’s game in England.”
It has to be hoped that the proximity of the Finals will also have a positive impact on the game for Women here in Ireland.
Polly Bancroft of UEFA will be a special guest at our 2018 Women in Sport Conference at RTÉ tomorrow morning, speaking to our sold-out audience about the impact which UEFA’s #WePlayStrong campaign has had across Europe.