Stadium MK has been included in The Football Association‘s official bid to stage the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 in England.
UEFA’s deadline for bids to stage the tournament is 31st August 2018, with a final decision on the successful host nation to be taken by the UEFA Executive Committee on 6th December 2018.
The FA’s decision to submit its bid follows England Women’s successful Euro 2017 campaign in the Netherlands which saw the Lionesses reach the semi-finals, generating a record peak audience of four million TV viewers in the UK.
The bid proposes a country-wide spread of host cities and stadia of varying capacities, including the home of MK Dons, with Wembley Stadium earmarked to stage the tournament’s final in July 2021, a year after hosting the equivalent final for the Men’s Tournament.
The proposed cities and stadia included in the bid are:
Brighton - AMEX Stadium
London - Wembley Stadium, connected by EE, and Brentford Community Stadium
Milton Keynes - Stadium MK
Manchester - Manchester City Academy Stadium
Nottingham - Meadow Lane
Peterborough - ABAX Stadium
Rotherham - AESSEAL New York Stadium
Sheffield - Bramall Lane
Chairman Pete Winkelman said: “We are so excited to be part of the FA's bid to host the UEFA Women's EURO 2021 tournament. We're proud to support women's football in Milton Keynes as can be seen by our women's first team playing their home matches at Stadium MK, following their promotion to the FA Women's National League.
"Tournaments like this are good for sport, good for the stadium and good for our city - we can't wait!"
John Cove, Chairman of MK Dons SET, commented: “Being included in the bid represents a great reward for the development of women and girls' football across Milton Keynes.
"We have spent many years developing the female game in Milton Keynes and are proud that so many young women from our projects have gone on to represent England at a number of levels, and by the time of the tournament they may even be playing for the senior team!
"This tournament would also help us develop our work further and it will be an exciting event for the whole of MK to enjoy."
Leader of MK Council Pete Marland said: “Milton Keynes stands alongside some major football cities in the FA’s line up and we’re proud to be included in their national bid.
"Seeing UEFA Women’s EURO matches in MK would be a great way to celebrate women’s football. We know hosting elite matches is a good route to getting more people – especially young people - involved in sport, as well as bringing extra tourism spend into the borough.
“If the bid is successful we'll use it to create new grassroots opportunities including a new girls' small sided league, and we'll dedicate a leisure facility to women's football.”
Martin Glenn, The FA’s chief executive officer, said: “Our bid to host UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 reflects our strong commitment to supporting and growing women’s and girl’s football in England.
“We have invested heavily in the women’s game in recent years and the opportunity to bring the tournament to England would represent a landmark moment for women’s football in this country.
“Our aim is to make UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 the biggest and best showcase for women’s football ever seen in Europe.
“We have not only the ambition, but the tournament hosting experience, infrastructure and incredible spectator demand to ensure we would deliver a truly memorable tournament.”
Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football, said: “We have made great strides in growing participation, support and success at all levels throughout women’s and girl’s football, of which we can be rightly proud.
“In our Gameplan for Growth strategy, launched in March last year, we set ourselves some challenging targets which we are on course to achieve, but we are impatient to accelerate the development of the sport.
“There is no question that the opportunity to host such a prestigious tournament would provide us with an incredible catalyst for the future growth of the game at all levels.”
The FA’s bid has received the full support of the UK Government. Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, added: “On behalf of the UK Government, I give our wholehearted support for the bid to host the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 in England.
“Our nation has a proud track record of successfully staging the most prestigious sporting events in the world. Having recently hosted the Women’s Hockey World Cup and last year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup, we have demonstrated that the British public have a passion for supporting women’s sport at the highest level with record attendances.
“We are excited by the opportunity UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 presents, which will undoubtedly inspire thousands of women and girls to get active and take up football, whilst showcasing to the rest of Europe and the world our country’s capacity for delivering truly world class events.”
England previously staged the UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 at venues across the north-west of the country with 29,092 watching England’s opening win against Finland in Manchester a record for an opening group match.
Earlier this year, St. George’s Park and stadiums across the Midlands and South Yorkshire welcomed the UEFA Men’s EURO U17 while Wembley Stadium will be a key venue when the UEFA EURO 2020 finals is played across 12 European cities.