UEFA has confirmed that the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 Finals will now be played in England from 6th to 31st July 2022. It is planned to use the same venues that were originally proposed to host the event.
“When we had to take an urgent decision on the postponement of UEFA EURO 2020, we always had the impact on UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 in mind,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
“We have carefully considered all options, with our commitment to the growth of women’s football at the forefront of our thinking. By moving UEFA Women’s EURO to the following year, we are ensuring that our flagship women’s competition will be the only major football tournament of the summer, providing it with the spotlight it deserves.”
The decision to move UEFA Women’s EURO came after UEFA announced on 17th March that UEFA EURO 2020 would be postponed to 2021 following the global outbreak of COVID-19.
The extensive discussions leading to the move included talks with organisers of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with whom UEFA and the English Football Association (FA) continue to work with collaboratively to ensure that 2022 provides a memorable summer of elite sport.
“The core question guiding us together with the English FA was looking at what is best for women’s football?'” said UEFA’s chief of women’s football, Nadine Kessler.
“With the Olympics now being confirmed for summer 2021, we firmly believe that moving to 2022 is in the best interests of the tournament, the players, the fans, women’s football partners and everybody involved in all areas and at all levels of the game.”
“UEFA Women’s EURO is Europe’s biggest women’s sport event. It is also among the biggest sports events in the world, and therefore needs and deserves a platform of its own.”
“This decision puts us in a position to deliver a tournament that attracts global attention, maximises media coverage and increases stadium attendances, and is, therefore, helping us to meet our core objective of inspiring the next generation of footballers.”
The Republic of Ireland team remain unbeaten in Group I and secured a 3-0 win away to Montenegro in early March when COVID-19 was starting to spread worldwide.
Since then, the planned trips to Germany and Ukraine were postponed as the world deals with the pandemic.
“It is great to have clarity on when the UEFA Women’s European Championships will be played so that we can plan accordingly,” said team manager Vera Pauw.
“However, football has not been the priority for us of late with the world still battling against the Coronavirus and our thoughts are with those we have lost, those who are fighting, and those who are aiding the fight.”
“The reaction from so many people, around the world, to abide by Government and Health regulations has been inspiring. So too has been the positive vibes from people posting video messages, taking part in various activities like the FAI HomeSkills drills, and doing what they can to help others. It is important that we all stay strong and stay safe during this period.
“As we look at the schedule ahead of us, there are still three group games to play and we remain in a good position to qualify for the European Championships. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us and it is fantastic that each of our players, who we remain in regular contact with, are working hard on individual fitness programs.
“We understand and accept UEFA’s decision to move the European Championships to July 2022. So now our focus will be on planning ahead for our remaining qualifying games, arranging some friendly games, and then looking at the FIFA World Cup qualifiers once that schedule is set.
“To all of our supporters around the world, we look forward to playing our next game and representing Ireland as best as we can, but, right now, we urge you to stay at home, get some exercise every day, and do what you can to help others during this period.”
Ireland have away games against Germany and Ukraine still to play along with a home game against group leaders Germany in qualification for EURO 2022.
The nine group winners and the three best runners-up (not counting results against the sixth-placed team) qualify directly for the final tournament, while the remaining six runners-up advance to the play-offs.