Sheffield will be a host city when England stages the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 championships.
Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium will stage games in the prestigious continental championship featuring teams from 16 countries which will be played at eight venues across the country before concluding with a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium.
The decision to award the event to England and details of the cities and the stadiums were revealed this afternoon by UEFA at a media conference in Dublin.
The announcement is a boost for the economy and profile of the Sheffield area, Sheffield United’s aspirations to host increasing numbers of high-profile fixtures at the club’s stadium and the development of the women’s game at all levels across the region.
The bid to stage the tournament was submitted by the Football Association as 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.
Sheffield City Council and Sheffield United worked with other partners across the city to contribute to the FA’s bid for the competition, which also includes provision for team training facilities.
Other host cities and towns and stadiums include
· Brighton & Hove – AMEX Stadium
· London – Wembley Stadium connected by EE and the Brentford Community Stadium
· Milton Keynes – Stadium MK
· Manchester – Manchester City Academy Stadium
· Nottingham – City Ground
· Rotherham – AESSEAL New York Stadium
· Southampton – St. Mary’s Stadium
The inclusion of Rotherham and the AESSEAL New York Stadium reflects the growth of the women’s game in the area.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is not only fantastic news for England, but for Sheffield and the City Region. Sheffield is the home of football and the sport has a proud place in our city’s history.
“I’m thrilled that the combined efforts of the council and our partners at Sheffield United have helped to secure this world-class event, which as a city we are well equipped to deliver.
“The competition will be especially exciting for women and girls who are interested in sport and for everyone who’s a football fan but more importantly will inspire a whole new generation of female footballers.
“Involvement in women’s football is growing across South Yorkshire and with EURO 2021 games set to be played in Sheffield and Rotherham I am sure this will rapidly continue. We look forward to sharing further announcements of the matches that will be played in Sheffield and to the excitement leading up to the competition in 2021.”
Sheffield United Operations Director Dave McCarthy said: “The achievement further adds to the long, rich history of football in Sheffield.
“We are delighted our partnership with the local authority has been a key factor in the country’s successful bid to stage a high-profile sporting event.
“The stadiums chosen will see some of the best women players in the world. It is an honour for Sheffield United and our highly regarded Bramall Lane stadium and is indicative of how we are perceived in the world of football. It is great compliment that we are recognised as an organisation that can stage such prestigious games.
“Together with the recent announcement of next year’s Rod Stewart concert it has put our stadium on the national stage for high profile fixtures and events.”
Sheffield United Women are enjoying their first season in the second tier of the newly-launched Women’s Super League. Coach Carla Ward said: “This is not only a significant development of the women’s game in this country but also for the region.
“The fact that we will be seeing top class international football at Bramall Lane will build interest in our sport and help drive our plans to develop the game locally, getting more girls playing football.”
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Richard Wright welcomed the news. He said: “This is wonderful for Sheffield. The tournament is bringing football back home. The profile for the city across Europe will be strong, providing a real boost for our sport, leisure and tourism sectors.”
Chelsea and England centre back Millie Bright, who was formerly with Sheffield United in her junior career, said: “It is fantastic news that Sheffield is a host city for the Championships. Born and bred in Sheffield, to have the chance to play for England in front of my family and friends at Bramall Lane which is close to my heart is unbelievable. I can’t wait.”
Martin Glenn, The FA’s chief executive officer, said: “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, especially with our restructured Women’s Super League making such a promising start.
“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.”
The next key date will be the draw for the qualifying group stage, which will be held 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.
Sheffield City Council and Sheffield United will share Sheffield’s fixture details and how people can get match tickets once announced.