England legends Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey joined Brighton & Hove Mayor Dee Simson, at the historic Royal Pavilion to welcome the official FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour to the city.
Brighton & Hove was the only venue in England chosen to host the FIFA World Cup Trophy as it travels across the globe visiting all 24 countries that will compete in the final tournament.
Coinciding with St George’s Day, the stunning Royal Pavilion provided the perfect backdrop for the trophy, as excitement builds for the Lionesses’ World Cup send-off match against New Zealand at the Amex Stadium on Saturday 1 June.
Marzena Bogdanowicz, FA Head of Commercial and Marketing for Women’s Football said: “It’s fitting that the Women’s World Cup should come to Brighton and the Royal Pavilion is an amazing venue. We are looking forward to an exciting game in June and I hope everyone will come along to watch and give the Lionesses a great send off.”
Young footballers from Balfour Primary School, who are part of the Brighton and Hove Girls’ Football School Partnership, were invited to take part in the event, enjoying a special SSE Wildcats coaching session and having photographs with the trophy.
SSE Wildcats is The FA’s participation initiative, created to provide girls aged 5 to 11 with the opportunity to give football a try, welcoming over 20,000 participants across the country
“It’s such a great opportunity for the girls,” said teacher Matt Evans. “To come and have a coaching session and to actually see the Women’s World Cup Trophy is a once in a lifetime opportunity which I’m sure will inspire them in the future.”
Former Lioness Rachel Yankey, who was part of the 2007 and 2011 World Cup squads, added: “It’s fantastic to come here and see the World Cup, but more importantly, to see the girls from the local area playing football and realising the opportunities they are going to have, the pathways available to them and that playing football is an achievable career.”
Tickets for the Lionesses vs New Zealand game are still available at just £1 for children and £10 for adults.
England head coach Phil Neville said: “Excitement for the World Cup is definitely growing the closer we get to the finals and I can’t wait to bring the squad to Brighton for our send-off game before we head to France. We know we will get brilliant support from fans in the area and my players will be determined to put on a great show in our farewell match. Thank you in advance to everyone who has bought tickets to see us play.”
In 2021 there will be a great opportunity to see elite women’s football in the city as Brighton & Hove is a host city for the UEFA Women’s European Championships.
Designed by William Sawaya and hand-crafted by Milanese specialists Sawaya & Moroni in 1998 in time for the 1999 tournament, the trophy, standing at 47cm and weighing 4.6kg, captures the athleticism, dynamism and elegance of international women’s football. Fitted with a modern, cone-shaped base that reinforces the uplifting spirit of the design, the trophy stretches skywards in the form of a spiral band, enclosing a football at the top. The trophy is made of bronze gold-plated, polished aluminium and Verde Candeias Granite. Engraved underneath its base are the names of each of the previous winners of the Women’s World Cup, cementing their place in Women’s World Cup history.
- 24 February: Kick-Off in Paris, France
- 3 March: Montego Bay, Jamaica
- 7 March: Santiago, Chile
- 9 March: Buenos Aires, Argentina
- 11 March: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 13 March: Miami, USA
- 15 March: San Francisco, USA
- 18 March: Los Angeles, USA
- 22 March: Seoul, Republic of Korea
- 24 March: Tokyo, Japan
- 27 March: Shanghai, China
- 29 March: Bangkok, Thailand
- 31 March: Sydney, Australia
- 4 April: Auckland, New Zealand
- 6 April: Stockholm, Sweden
- 7 April: Durban, South Africa
- 9 April: Yaounde, Cameroon
- 11 April: Abuja, Nigeria
- 13 April: Oslo, Norway
- 14 April: Dortmund, Germany
- 15 April: Coverciano, Italy
- 23 April: Brighton, England
- 25 April: Edinburgh, Scotland
- 27 April: The Netherlands
- 29 April: Madrid, Spain
- 30 April: Toronto, Canada
- 2 May: Paris, France
Players on the trophy tour at the Royal Pavilion
England’s record goalscorer of all time with 46 goals, Kelly Smith was capped 117 times by her country across 20 years representing the national team. As well as playing in the Lionesses team that reached the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals, she also took part in the 2012 Olympics for Team GB. At club level she was most associated with Arsenal, where she won the league four times and the FA Women’s Cup on three occasions, as well as the UEFA Women’s Cup in 2006/07.
Having amassed 129 caps and 19 goals for England, Rachel Yankey is one of the nation’s greatest ever players. With Arsenal, she won six league titles, nine FA Women’s Cups and helped the London club to the European title in 2006/07. She represented England at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, scoring in the latter as the Lionesses reached the quarter-finals and was also part of the 2012 Team GB squad at the London Olympics. Since retiring, she became first-team manager at London Bees.