The 2021 Women’s European Championship which is set to be hosted in England, will be rescheduled to avoid clashing with the men’s edition, UEFA have confirmed.
The men’s tournament which was set to take place later this summer, has been postponed until 11 June 2021, with the final set for 11 July. The new dates will see a four-day overlap with the women’s tournament, which was due to kick-off on 7 July.
It is understood that despite some fears that the women’s tournament will be moved to 2022 as a result, the option of playing the two European tournaments back to back in 2021 is very much on the cards.
FYI, as I understand it, it is not definite yet that the Women’s Euros will be pushed back to 2022. Both options of running the tournaments in the same summer, 2021, and pushing the women’s back into the free 2022 summer are still on the table.— Suzy Wrack (@SuzyWrack) March 17, 2020
UEFA’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, did however hint that moving the women’s tournament to 2022 might be the preferred approach.
”We are thinking of postponing this Women’s Euro and Under-21 championship,” he said. “We will have to postpone both because I don’t think that we should cannibalise the women’s Euro with the men’s Euro just one month before.”
The fear is that should the women’s tournament take place directly after the men’s, it could see them going head to head for media coverage and airtime. Ultimately with almost a full tournament being played before a ball is kicked, football could reach a saturation point and the knock-on effect would see the viewing figures for the women’s tournament drop.
The alternative approach of moving the tournament to 2022 would mean there could be a three-year gap in top-level international women’s football whilst sponsorship cycles would likely need to be revisited. This would also impact on the European qualifying process for the 2023 World Cup.
The Irish women’s national team are currently on track to qualify for the major tournament for the first time ever. They beat Greece and Montenegro earlier this month which leaves them in a good position at the top of the table.
The group winners of every group and three best second-placed sides qualify automatically for the Euro’s, with the six other runners-up heading for play-offs.