(Reuters) - England will host the women’s European Championship in 2021 with the final set for Wembley Stadium a year after the venue hosts the climax of the men’s edition, European soccer’s governing body UEFA announced on Monday.
The Football Association’s (FA) bid to stage the tournament was unchallenged, granting the 2017 semi-finalists automatic qualification for the 16-team tournament as hosts.
“England has been selected to host UEFA Women’s Euro 2021, with 16 teams to compete in July of that year,” UEFA said in a statement.
The FA’s chief executive officer Martin Glenn said bringing the event to England was an opportunity to celebrate women’s soccer and help their efforts to grow the game.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact this tournament will have on inspiring the next generation,” Glenn added.
“Young girls and boys will be lifted by the chance to see Europe’s elite on their doorstep and it can only help the effort across our leagues and clubs to grow the game even further.”
England hosted the smaller Women’s Euro 2005, which featured eight teams, at venues across the north-west of the country.
More than 29,000 spectators watched England’s opening win against Finland in Manchester, a record for an opening group match.
The FA said Brighton & Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium and Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium were among a number of venues being considered for the 2021 tournament.
The draw for the qualifying group stage will be held in February next year.
The Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2 to lift the 2017 title on home soil.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge