08 Dec 2018
Football’s coming home – at last!!
England are to stage the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 finals after being confirmed as hosts by the UEFA Executive Committee on Monday December 3 2018.
Women’s football in England is on a historical high. Not only did the England’s senior team, the Lionesses, reach the the semi-finals, generating a record peak audience of four million TV viewers in the UK, but that success was followed by a best-ever showing at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States in March 2018 and qualification in August 2018 for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup next June.
It is 13 years since England last hosted a major senior International team Championship, which was the UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 at venues across the north-west of the country with 29,092 watching England’s opening win against Finland in Manchester a record for an opening group match.
In a cunning plan, in which the Football Association were the only country to bid for the tournament, England also automatically qualified to play in the 16 team tournament as hosts.
Despite the fact England were the only country to bid, Martin Glenn, The FA’s chief executive officer, gushed : “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.
This successful bid is part of UK sports plan to host nearly 50 major events in 19 sports over the next eight years, including stages of the 2021 Tour de France and the 2023 Champions League final.
According to elite funding agency UK Sport, the events would attract over seven million paying fans and have an economic impact of more than £440million to host cities and regions.
UK Sport has not officially confirmed the events it is targeting but the BBC has revealed a ‘hosting targets’ list that ranges from archery’s European youth championships in 2018 to the World Athletics Championships in 2027 or 2029.
As well as helping national governing bodies win international bids, UK Sport also uses exchequer and National Lottery money to help meet the costs of staging some of these large events. For example, it is putting £9million into the 2019 World Road Cycling Championships in Yorkshire and £15million into the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 finals bid proposes a spread of host cities and stadia of varying capacities, a year after hosting the equivalent final for the men’s tournament at Wembley.
The proposed cities and stadia 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
But, it is not only at International level that women’s football is flying. At Grassroots level, the The Football Association is on track to double the number of players and fans in the women’s game by 2020. One of the best initiatives launched by the FA is the SSE Wildcats scheme which is designed for 5-11-year-old girls to “Have Fun, make friends and play football” To find out more about this scheme, click on the link below.