WIGAN & LEIGH will be front and centre of the biggest women’s European sport event in history after being hand-picked as one of 10 host venues for the hotly-anticipated UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.
Leigh Sports Village is guaranteed to host at least four matches throughout the tournament which kicks off at Old Trafford on July 6.
The matches include Russia vs Switzerland, Netherlands vs Russia, Sweden vs Russia and a quarter-final on July 22.
The world’s leading stars traded plush green pitches for swanky red carpets on Thursday as the draw for the European showpiece took place at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.
The ticket ballot application window is now officially open and former England captain Rio Ferdinand, who racked up 81 caps for the Three Lions, is backing the summer football bonanza to blaze a trail.
The 42-year-old said: “Fans shouldn’t miss out on their chance to be at the biggest women’s EURO ever and enter the ticket ballot now.
“I can’t wait to witness Wembley stadium for the final – its due to be the biggest European crowd for a women’s football match ever.
“What a moment for the women’s game that will leave such a massive legacy, inspiring huge numbers to be part of it in the future, whether its playing or watching!
“It’s going to be massive next year – I’ve been told It’s set to be history-making for the sport which will be unreal to be a part of and not something you’d want to miss.
“It will definitely [bring about] more awareness of the women’s game. If girls out there get to a game or watch the tournament on TV (for free!) and think you know what, I want to play football, for fun or have aspirations to one day be an International footballer. Then amazing. Everyone deserves the chance to play.”
The public ballot will close on 16 November and remaining tickets will go on general sale from mid-February 2022 ahead of the tournament curtain-raiser at Old Trafford on July 6.
The showcase final takes place at Wembley on July 31 and with the women’s game profile continuing to sky-rocket, the total attendance record for a UEFA Women’s EURO – currently 240,045 for Netherlands 2017 – is expected to be more than doubled.
Stadium MK will be one of ten host venues for the competition with London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton also featuring.
And Brighton, Rotherham, Trafford and Wigan & Leigh make up the host city locations that will welcome women’s football’s most highly-rated stars.
Wigan & Leigh’s selection as a major host venue will see fans flock to the city and current England full back Lucy Bronze, whose side slipped to a semi-final defeat against home favourites the Netherlands at EURO 2017, added: “I’m so excited. We’ve been waiting for these home Euros for a long long time considering how it got pushed back and cancelled last year.
“As players, we’re super excited to be playing as the home nation and playing all around the country in front of our fans.
“All the groups are pretty strong. It’s crazy now because the Euros now, so many teams are good whereas in years gone by, it was Germany, Germany and Norway. Now, it’s Spain, Sweden, France are good, so’s England, so’s Holland – the list goes on and on. It’s exciting.”
The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing