UEFA has pledged that next year's Women's EURO 2022 in England will be a record-breaker – raising the bar for women's football and setting new standards for European women's sports events.
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UEFA's deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti and UEFA chief of women's football Nadine Kessler joined together on stage at the tournament draw in Manchester on Thursday, hailing an exciting adventure that will take the women's game on this continent to another level over 31 matches between 6 and 31 July 2022.
Inspiring a new generation
"To reach this next level, we will raise standards across the bar," Nadine Kessler told the audience at Victoria Warehouse in Greater Manchester. "For the media, for the fans and particularly for the players…players whose skills, passion, power and personality will inspire a whole new generation of football-obsessed girls and boys and leave a legacy across [England], Europe and beyond.
"The importance of the UEFA Women's EURO for European football cannot be understated," she added. "And we are on track. More than 160,000 tickets have already been sold during a pre-sales phase that smashed our own high expectations."
Giorgio Marchetti spoke of the competition's rich history since its birth four decades ago. "This competition is one of the oldest women's national team competitions in the world," he said, "and it has a historic past.
"In 2022, UEFA and the English Football Association will build upon the history to deliver a next-level Women’s EURO," Marchetti added.
Setting new benchmarks
"The only major football tournament of the summer will take centre stage like never before," Marchetti continued. "We want record-breaking attendances, and we will deliver an open and inclusive tournament that is not only the biggest and best Women's EURO ever, but also one that sets the benchmark for all European women's sports events going forward."
"The game in Europe goes from strength to strength," he concluded, "and this will be the most competitive Women's EURO ever…at the last Women's World Cup, seven of the eight quarter-finalists were from Europe. Next summer, we will have world-class players and world-class teams playing an unmissable tournament."
EURO players' pride
Nadine Kessler, UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2014 and a Women's EURO winner with Germany in 2013, explained the significance of the competition to the players taking part.
"It means everything," she reflected. "It is obviously very special to play for your country, to put that jersey on and play in a EURO.
"There are not many things that can bring a country together like international football," she added. "Quite honestly, there are not many better things in life than to be able to call yourself a European champion."