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Women's EURO 2022: Ten rules you might not know

UEFA's regulations cover everything from what happens to the trophy to what numbers the players can wear.

Netherlands' Lieke Martens was player of the tournament in 2017
Netherlands' Lieke Martens was player of the tournament in 2017 ANP/AFP via Getty Images

The basics of UEFA Women's EURO 2022 we reckon you've got: 16 teams in four groups aiming to get to the eight-nation knockout stage. Teams get three points for a win, with ties broken by head-to-head before overall group comparison starts with goal difference, etc, etc.

However, the official regulations consist of more than 18,000 words spread over 58 pages – and we have sifted through them to find ten rules you might not be aware of.

1. Eyes on the prize

The UEFA Women's EURO trophy
The UEFA Women's EURO trophyUEFA via Getty Images

The current UEFA European Women's Championship trophy was introduced in 2005 (replacing the previous one, which was presented to Germany under an old rule where teams would permanently retain it if they won it three tournaments running or five in total), with the design based on the then tournament logo. The official trophy which is presented to the winning team after the final, remains in UEFA's keeping after the ceremony; the victors actually take home a full-size replica (which cannot leave the association's country without UEFA's prior written consent).

The winners also receive 40 gold medals – and the runners-up 40 silver medals – to distribute among players and staff. Every side in the final tournament will receive a commemorative dedicated plaque.

The champions will also face the winners of the 2022 CONMEBOL Copa América Femenina (played from 8 to 30 July in Colombia), in the first UEFA-CONMEBOL Women's Finalissima, planned to be played in Europe, with the date (during an international window) and location of the event to be announced in due course.

Any association which wins the competition three consecutive times or five times in total receives a special mark of recognition. Once a cycle of three successive wins or five in total has been completed, the association concerned starts a new cycle from zero.

2. Paying the penalty

If two teams facing each other in their last group game are dead level, and draw, their position in the group is determined by a penalty shoot-out (unless there is another nation on the same number of points, in which case normal tie-break rules apply).

This scenario is yet to occur in a senior UEFA Women's EURO, although in the 2003 Women's U19 EURO, Sweden beat Italy 4-2 on spot kicks having conceded in added time to draw the match 3-3 and end up tied in second place in their section. Sweden went on to lose in the semi-finals – on penalties, having conceded to Norway in added time.

If two or more teams who do not play their last group match against each other finish level on points, various criteria are used to separate them. Firstly, head-to-head record is considered before overall group comparison starts with goal difference. Even disciplinary points or national-team coefficient ranking could come into it. See Article 18.01 for full details.

3. Try again

Steffi Jones and her Germany team had to come back the next day instead to play Denmark
Steffi Jones and her Germany team had to come back the next day instead to play DenmarkAFP via Getty Images

If a match cannot start or cannot be played in full, it is, as a rule, played or completed on the next day, if possible at the same venue. This what exactly what happened last time when Denmark and Germany were unable to play their Rotterdam quarter-final due to heavy rain, and instead faced off the next afternoon.

A match that was abandoned is continued from the minute at which it was interrupted (with the same scoreline, and with the ball in the same spot). Teams are allowed to change players for the rescheduled or resumed game (from those within their finals squad) with these exceptions:

  • Players suspended for, or sent off or substituted during, the original game cannot take part.
  • A team that had one or more players sent off will remain down to ten or fewer players.*
  • Teams can make only the number of substitutions to which they were still entitled when the match was abandoned.
  • Yellow cards from the game remain valid on resumption.

*If there are fewer than seven players on either of the teams, the match is not played or is abandoned.

4. Squad substitutions

The deadline for the final 23-player squads is 24:00 CET on Sunday 26 June. However, should a listed player then become seriously injured or ill before her team's first match in the final tournament, she may be substituted if a doctor from the UEFA Medical Committee and the team doctor concerned both confirm that the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the final tournament. Subject to the final approval of the UEFA administration, this injured or ill player may be replaced on the list of 23 players registered for the final tournament.

Players who have tested positive for COVID-19 are considered cases of serious illness but, once replaced, a player cannot later rejoin the squad.

Goalkeepers can be replaced during the tournament in the event of physical incapacity, even if one or two goalkeepers in the squad are still available.

A player who has been replaced cannot be re-added to the squad.

During games themselves, all squad players eligible for the game not named in the starting XI can begin on the bench. Teams will be allowed to use a maximum of five substitutes, with a sixth allowed exclusively during extra time. Each team may use a maximum of three stoppages in play to make substitutions (half-time and full time, as well as half-time in extra time, do not reduce the number of stoppages in play that can be used). An additional stoppage may be used during extra time.

VAR at Women's EURO for first time

5. Timekeeping

Both sides must be at the stadium at least 75 minutes before kick-off, which is also the deadline for the submission of match sheets to the officials. Teams are provided with a countdown to kick-off, letting them know when the on-pitch warm-ups can start and end, and when they should be ready to walk on from the tunnel. The national anthem of each side is limited to a maximum of 90 seconds.

The refereeing team are briefed on all the rules in Istanbul in June
The refereeing team are briefed on all the rules in Istanbul in JuneUEFA via Getty Images

6. Don't forget your passport

When players pack for the tournament, even if they already are based in the United Kingdom, they had better remember their passports. Regulation 41.02 states: "Each player taking part in the competition must be in possession of a valid passport or identity card of the country for which she is playing, containing a photograph and giving full particulars of her date of birth (day, month, year). Otherwise, she will not be allowed to take part in the competition. The referee or the UEFA match delegate may ask to see the passports/identity cards of the players listed on the match sheet."

7. The numbers game

Shirt numbers between 1 and 23 are allocated to the 23 players. The No1 must be worn by a goalkeeper but the other 22 are at the teams' discretion. Regulation 51.02 states that sides should have an extra set of unnumbered (or named) goalkeeper shirts in the same two colours as their regular goalkeeper shirts, in case an outfield player has to go in goal during a match.

8. Colour chart

Each match has an official 'home' and 'away' team, the 'home' side listed first, and the host nation able to be the 'away' team (as will be the case in Northern Ireland vs England in Southampton).

As a rule, the 'home' team is entitled to wear its first-choice playing attire. In order to clearly distinguish between the teams on the field of play, the UEFA administration may request that teams combine elements of their different approved playing attires. The UEFA administration issues a written decision regarding the playing attires in advance of each match.

If on the day of the match, in the opinion of the referee or the UEFA administration, the colours of the two teams could be confused, they will be changed. As a rule, in such cases it is the 'home' team that has to change colours, for practical reasons. The decision taken by the UEFA administration in consultation with the referee is final.

9. Take your seat

Regulations for the technical area are quite strict, but mascots are optional
Regulations for the technical area are quite strict, but mascots are optionalGetty Images

Each team has a maximum of 23 people allowed on or next to the substitutes' bench: 12 players and 11 officials, including a team doctor. The names of all these persons and their functions must be listed on the match sheet.

During the match, substitutes are allowed to leave the technical area to warm up. The referee determines exactly where they may warm up (behind the first assistant referee or behind the advertising boards behind the goal) and how many substitutes are allowed to warm up simultaneously.

In principle, three substitutes per team are allowed to warm up at the same time; exceptionally, if space permits, the referee can allow additional substitutes from each team to warm up simultaneously in the determined area. The team fitness coach indicated on the match sheet may join the players warming up.

Oh, and no smoking!

10. A quick word

A player's job is not done just because the game is over. One player from each team (as well as the head coaches) is required to speak immediately to the host broadcaster or their main home TV rights-holding broadcaster on or next to the pitch (known in the trade as a 'super-flash interview'). The Player of the Match must also be made available for an additional super-flash interview.

The regulations also state that each team "must provide three interviews with the main audiovisual rights holder of the country of the team, two interviews with each of the other unilateral audiovisual rights holders, and one interview with each of the audiovisual rights holders operating in any multilateral flash interview position(s)". The head coach, if requested, must be available for at least four of those, and the players made available must include the Player of the Match. All this must happen within 15 minutes of the end of the match.

Then, no later than 20 minutes after the final whistle, both coaches and the Player of the Match must attend a press conference. A mixed zone is also set up between the dressing rooms and the team coaches, where members of the media can interview individual players and coaches. At least three players from each team must conduct interviews.

If a team's head coach is suspended for the match, or is sent off during the match, the team has the option of replacing him/her with the assistant coach for the post-match interviews.