Nottingham has been announced as one of the host cities for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 matches after England was confirmed as hosts by the UEFA Executive Committee on Monday [3 December].

The prestigious continental championship will be played at eight venues across the country before concluding with a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium. With a strong bid to bring the tournament back to this country for the first time since 2005, no other countries went up against the Football Association’s entry. It means England will qualify automatically for the 16-team finals as hosts.

A number of matches will be staged at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, expected to attract a large crowd locally and a huge global TV audience – making it a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on Nottingham as a great sporting and tourism destination. The FA estimates that each City Ground match could give the local economy at boost of over £632,000.

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 the Lionesses reach the semi-finals, generating a record peak audience of four million TV viewers in the UK. That success was followed by a best-ever showing at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States in March 2018 and qualification in October 2018 for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup next June.

The successful bid will see a country-wide spread of host cities and stadia of varying capacities, a year after hosting the equivalent final for the men’s tournament at Wembley. The other host cities alongside Nottingham are Brighton & Hove, Milton Keynes, Manchester, Rotherham, Sheffield and Southampton – as well as London, with Wembley Stadium staging the final.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio for Leisure & Localities, Cllr Dave Trimble, said: “The UEFA Women’s European Championship is the most significant women’s national football team competition in Europe. We’re pleased that we have secured Nottingham as a host city for 2021. This will provide a fantastic opportunity to shine a global spotlight on Nottingham as a great sporting and tourism destination.

“We expect big crowds for the matches staged here, bringing a huge boost to the local economy, along with a huge global TV audience. It will be a chance for us to stage another top class sporting event and to bring women’s football to a new family and young crowd, which will increase the opportunities for women and girls to play football.”

Martin Glenn, The FA’s chief executive officer, said: “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.

“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.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football, said: “This is fantastic news for The FA, the country and, crucially, for the future development of girls’ and women’s football in England.

“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.”

Sports Minister Mims Davies said: “Women’s football is booming, with investment, participation and support greater than ever before.

“Playing host to the European Championships will give us a new platform to inspire the nation and a new generation of young footballers. We are a world-leader in hosting major sporting events and I would like to congratulate all the partners on putting together such a strong bid.”