The biggest European women’s football event, attracting over 48,000 spectators, is coming to Sheffield and Rotherham.
This July, Rotherham United’s New York Stadium and Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane are proudly hosting eight UEFA Women’s Euro matches. South Yorkshire is now encouraging people across the region to get involved and do their part to celebrate this monumental achievement for women.
Women’s Recreational Football Officer at Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, Sarah Harnett, said: “I think that it is incredibly important when women turn around and say and girls turn around and say, we want to play, that needs to happen quickly.
“It’s been a game that a lot of you know, a lot of women and girls have felt shunned out of many, many years.
“At the minute they say I want, we say we give, and that’s the beauty of that legacy program, and that’s why it’s so important.”
UEFA has set up a legacy programme surrounding this tournament to encourage young girls to get involved with their favourite sport. The football governing body hopes to achieve this with three national host city goals. They want equal access for all girls to play football in schools and clubs. They also want a diverse workforce of coaches, referees and local leaders delivering and organising football for their communities. And they want inclusive, safe and welcoming environments for every woman and girl to play competitive or recreational grassroots football, irrespective of ability, age or ambition.
They are hoping to provide more than 500,000 new football opportunities. These include 300 new FA-qualified female coaches which is double the current number in host cities as well as 1,000 women and girls completing the entry-level FA Playmaker Award.
Sport England’s Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth said: “UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 will be an exciting and potentially transformational event.
“We are delighted to be working with The FA to use the tournament being hosted here in England as an opportunity to grow the women’s game.”
Bodies such as Rotherham Town Centre are attempting to get the ball rolling early with celebrations by starting a ‘knit off to kick off’ campaign to bring their community together by knitting flowers and footballs to dress up Rotherham.
There are also encouraging children of all ages and gender to get involved this season by offering schools tournament focused cross-curriculum resources for Key Stage 2 and 3 to help bring the biggest women’s football event in Europe to life.
Community Projects Officer, Sheffield City Council, Gareth Hayden said: “Hopefully we can leave a legacy for women and girls football in Sheffield and hopefully a host for tournaments in the future.
“It’s important to carry on that drive and keep people’s enthusiasm beyond the tournament.
“It’s important that girls have a good experience at school because then that will then create that mindset of oh when I go and play outside of school, I want to join a club.
“We’re mindful of making sure those links are there and that they know a girl might go to play at school.”
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Cllr Sarah Allen, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the town to showcase women’s football and for visitors from around the world to see what an amazing place Rotherham is. Rotherham folk are some of the most welcoming people in the country, and I’m sure we will all come together to welcome this great event to our town.
“Rotherham has already shown it can successfully host European games having welcomed the UEFA Euro Men’s Under 17 finals in 2018, inspiring children to get involved in the world of sport. This now gives us the opportunity to inspire the next female footballers of the future and to promote participation in culture, sport and physical activity.”
This year 6 nations will be competing across 10 venues, in nine cities. Both stadiums will host four games of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, including a one-quarter final game and one semi-finals game in July. See the full schedule HERE.
If you want to get involved and celebrate this big step for women in sports, you can inquire HERE.