Euro 2022 is yet to reach the semifinal stage, but even before the tournament reaches the last four next week, it can already be considered an unqualified success. An 85,000 sellout crowd at Wembley for the final on July 31 will only underscore how women’s football has now become a major player in world sport.
Almost 70,000 watched England’s opening game against Austria at Old Trafford earlier this month, an audience of 7.6 million watched the live television broadcast of their quarterfinal win against Spain, while 16,025 turned out at Brentford on Thursday to see Germany join the hosts in the semis with a 2-0 victory against Austria.
Everyone involved with this competition so far has been a winner — the host nation, the players, UEFA and the supporters who have broken attendance records throughout to raise the bar to a whole new level. But there is another big winner from Euro 2022, and it has no involvement other than being an interested observer. With a World Cup in 2027 still to allocate, FIFA has seen its premier women’s competition become so much more appealing and valuable to potential hosts and sponsors alike thanks to the success of Euro 2022.
The bidding process for the 2027 World Cup is due to start this month, and so far there has been just one confirmed bid — a tri-nation proposal involving Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Yet FIFA can expect the battle to host the 2027 event to become much more competitive with the growth of the women’s game in recent years borne out by England’s hosting of Euro 2022.
Big nations and sponsors looking to give their brand the best possible exposure always want to be involved in major sporting tournaments, and while the men’s World Cup will always be the jewel in FIFA’s crown, the women’s competition has now earned its place as a competition and platform that attract serious interest.