UEFA Women’s EURO to take centre stage in summer 2022

Rotherham still has a shot at being part of the biggest Women’s EUROs to date which organisers have confirmed will now kick off in 2022.

The UEFA Executive Committee this week confirmed that the postponed UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 will be played in England in 2022 and it is planned to use the same venues that were originally proposed to host the event.

Rotherham United’s AESSEAL New York Stadium was on to host four high profile international games at the tournament in 2021 including a prestigious quarter final on July 24.

The decision to move UEFA Women’s EURO came after UEFA announced on 17 March that UEFA EURO 2020 would be postponed to 2021 following the global outbreak of COVID-19.

UEFA’s Chief of Women’s Football, Nadine Kessler, said: “The core question guiding us together with the English FA was: what is best for women’s football? 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.”

New York Stadium is one of ten grounds which will stage the tournament. Other host venues include Bramall Lane, Old Trafford and Wembley. England, who reached the semi finals of the Women’s World Cup in 2018, will be joined by 15 other nations.

Sue Campbell, The English FA’s Director of Women’s Football, said: “Our intention is to stage the same tournament that was being planned for 2021 in 2022 and we very much hope that all current venues and cities will continue to play a role in hosting the tournament. They’ve all been fantastic partners to work with to date, showing a great level of commitment and support both for the delivery of the tournament and women’s football more broadly.

“Prior to being awarded the tournament, we undertook a rigorous process to identify venues and cities who were interested in staging games. Notice was sent to all cities and councils, County FAs, Premier League, English Football League and FA Women’s Super League clubs. A total of 25 cities expressed an interest, and a Bid Steering group then reviewed all submitted responses.

“The final decision was based on the venues which adhered to the numerous technical requirements from UEFA, as well as host cities that could provide the required level of support to deliver a major event. A commitment from the City Council to support the wider legacy and sustainable development of the women’s game was also an important factor.

“This was coupled with the need to strike the right balance for the tournament. Setting an ambitious ticket target – with more than 700,000 tickets available for fans – whilst seeking to achieve full venues where possible. This is a balance we believe we have achieved in the selected venues and cities, with England’s Lionesses due to play all of their group stage games at Premier League grounds across the country.”

Having previously hosted a number of youth internationals, the AESSEAL New York Stadium hosted five games at the 2018 UEFA European Under 17 Championships, including a semi-final and the final.

In 2013, England’s women beat Canada 1-0 in a friendly at Rotherham, and in 2016 a crowd of 10,550 witnessed the Lionesses draw 1-1 with Belgium in a UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier. In 2018, the £20m stadium also hosted the team in a friendly fixture against Sweden as they stepped up their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Images: RUFC / The FA