The Football Association is delighted to confirm that England has been chosen...
The Football Association is delighted to confirm that England has been chosen to host the 2005 UEFA European Women's Championship...
The decision was made in October by UEFA's Executive Committee at a meeting in Geneva.
This means that England automatically qualify for the eight-nation finals, to be held in summer 2005.
Chairman of The Football Association, Geoff Thompson, who is on the UEFA Executive Committee, said: "It is a great honour for The Football Association to be hosting such a prestigious tournament. Women's Football is the fastest growing sport and also the top female sport in England, and The FA is delighted to show our commitment to the Women's game by hosting this event, subject to financial agreements."
Ray Kiddell, Chairman of the FA Women's Football Committee, added: "We have made tremendous progress in Women's Football in this country in the past nine years and this honour is in recognition of that fact. We look forward to hosting this great festival of football as one of the leading nations in the women's game in Europe."
Peter Gandolfi, Head of Sports Marketing at Nationwide as FA Women's Football Partner, said: "This is very exciting news. The recent rapid growth and future potential growth in Women's Football are the key reasons we chose to become the county's largest supporter of the women's game. The decision to host the Euro 2005 championships in England will only serve to accelerate this growth over the next few years. We look forward to working closely with The FA to develop the women's game at all levels as we prepare for Euro 2005."
The England Women's team have participated in the Finals of four of the previous five European Championships, with their best finish coming in 1995 when they reached the semi-finals. At Euro 2001, England reached the group stage losing to the eventual finalists Sweden and Germany. Hope Powell OBE, National Women's Coach, was delighted with the news.
"It's great to have qualified without having kicked a ball! It gives us the opportunity once again to compete on the top European stage, which is where we should be. It's fabulous news and thanks must go to Karen Doyle, the Head of Women's Football, and the Women's Football Committee for their hard work in bidding for such a massive event.
"We hope that in 2005 we can improve upon the position of the last championship and hosting the event will be a real boost for the national game."
Karen Doyle, Head of Women's Football, added: "I'm really delighted at this decision because hosting this championships will really help to raise the awareness of Women's Football in England. We're looking forward to sharing our plans very soon."
The draw for the qualifying stages of the Sixth European Championship will take place at UEFA's Headquarters in Geneva on December 5th. National Coach Hope Powell will attend the draw.