There’s just 500 days to go before the UEFA Women’s EURO tournament kicks off in London on 7 July 2021.
Excitement is already building for the tournament will see England's Lionesses joining 15 other nations, playing 31 matches at venues across the country including three at the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium.
Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to attend the tournament and millions more will watch the globally-televised event.
The stadium was chosen as a host city following a bid by Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Albion FC and the Sussex County Football Association.
As one of the eight host cities, Brighton & Hove is planning a programme of fan events in the lead-up to and during the tournament, as well as a legacy programme to improve access to and participation in girls’ and women’s football.
There will also be a range of volunteering opportunities.
The first game played at Brighton & Hove Community Stadium will be on 12 July 2021, with others on 16 and 21 July, giving fans an opportunity to see some of the world’s best players in action.
The final will be staged at Wembley Stadium on 1 August 2021. England previously staged the finals in 2005.
Interest is growing
Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “Everyone at the football club is hugely excited to have the chance to host the 2021 European Championships.
“Our commitment to women’s and girls’ football is increasing all the time, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the continent’s finest teams to our stadium.”
Support and interest in the sport is growing – currently around 1.7 million women and girls play football every year and it is now the top participation sport for women and girls in England.
A total of 900,000 girls between five and 15 play the sport, which also has 150 affiliated disability teams.
Excitement is building
Sussex County FA chief executive Ken Benham added: “With the countdown underway excitement builds and we’re just as excited at the Sussex County FA; this is a brilliant opportunity for us to showcase what passionate football people we have in this county and we hope everyone will be out in force to welcome the competition and enjoy having the world’s players on our doorstep!”
Once in a lifetime
Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the council’s tourism, development and culture committee, said: “It’s exciting to have begun the countdown to what will undoubtedly be one the city’s greatest ever sporting events.
“We are proud to be hosting this prestigious tournament and look forward to the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities it will bring for our for our residents and visitors."
Brighton & Hove has a successful track record in hosting major sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015. In 2014, the city welcomed Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain bike race and the annual Brighton Marathon is the UK’s second largest.
Ticket registration and applications to be part of UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 volunteer programme will open on 23 February.
For more information on tickets and volunteering, visit the Women's Euro 2021 website.
Photograph by Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC.