Top women’s football tournament is coming to Brighton

Martin Perry, Cllr Alan Robins, Michelle Walder, Paul Barber and Ken Benham SUS-180831-121427001
Martin Perry, Cllr Alan Robins, Michelle Walder, Paul Barber and Ken Benham SUS-180831-121427001

The home of Brighton & Hove Albion has been named as one of nine match venues for the UEFA European Women’s Championship.

The American Express Community Stadium in Falmer is set to host the international tournament in 2021.

The football club teamed up with Brighton and Hove City Council and the Sussex County Football Association in backing The Football Association’s bid to bring the tournament to England back in August.

Related stories: Brighton’s bid to host top international women’s football tournament

Paul Barber, Albion chief executive and deputy chairman, said: “This is fantastic news for the football club and the wider Sussex community as a whole.

“Our stadium has a proven track record and a growing reputation for hosting some of the world’s biggest sporting events, and it is great that we will have the chance to do so once again.

“We will continue to work very closely with Sussex County FA and Brighton & Hove City Council, in supporting The FA with hosting such a prestigious tournament.”

Michelle Walder, Albion’s women’s football chair said: “I am delighted for all concerned, and would like to congratulate The FA on their successful bid.

“This will greatly help to raise the profile of women’s football as a whole, and it will be fantastic to welcome some of the top female players in Europe to our stadium.”

Cllr Alan Robins, chair of the council’s tourism, development and culture committee, added: “We’re over the moon to hear the news – it’s a great early Christmas present. It’s a fantastic boost for women’s football in the region and a great accolade for the city.

“As a host city we have a real opportunity to help raise the profile of women’s football locally and nationally.”

Ken Benham, Sussex County FA chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that some of the finest female players from across Europe will be showcasing their skills right here in Sussex.

“The tournament has the power to inspire and we hope it will encourage more people into the game.

“We have opportunities for all ages and abilities to get involved with football, so we’re really looking forward to the increased exposure the championships will bring to the local area.”

Brighton and Hove has hosted major sporting events before, 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.

The council said the event will showcase the city to an international audience, supporting tourism and the local economy.

In 2017, when England reached the semi-finals, the UEFA women’s Euro viewing figures reached a global audience of 165 million.