England will welcome three of the world’s top sides next February for the first staging of a new annual invitational women’s tournament.
The Lionesses will be joined by Germany, Spain and current Olympic champions Canada, also all in the top ten of FIFA rankings, in the 2022 edition.
Fans will be treated to three double-header matches played across seven days in a round-robin format across seven days in Middlesbrough, Norwich and Wolverhampton.
The annual tournament will significantly boost England’s international calendar and ensure Sarina Wiegman’s squad regularly face world-class opposition, starting with the build-up to next summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO on home soil and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.
The fixtures will take place as follows:-
Matchday 1: Thursday 17 February 2022 at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Match 1: Germany v Spain, Match 2: England v Canada
Matchday 2: Sunday 20 February 2022 at Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich
Match 3: England v Spain, Match 4: Canada v Germany
Matchday 3: Wednesday 23 February 2022 at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
Match 5: Spain v Canada, Match 6: England v Germany
Kick-off times will be confirmed in due course, with tickets to go on sale in early December 2021.
Baroness Sue Campbell, FA director of women’s football, said: “This exciting new addition to the international calendar promises to further accelerate the rapid growth we are already seeing in women’s football.
“Giving England fans the opportunity to see their team take on some of the best opposition in the world on an annual basis will create substantial interest, leading to a broader fanbase and strengthening grassroots participation. It will also provide the England team with the best preparation heading into the major tournaments over the next four years.
“Pitch International is a world-leader in organising events, has a superb track-record in women’s football, and is perfectly placed to lead the delivery of this new tournament.”
Pitch International, a London-based sports marketing agency, created the tournament concept and has an agreement with the FA through to 2025 to manage all aspects of the tournament.
Cat Watson, director of women’s sport at Pitch International, added: “We have seen first-hand the increased appetite for top quality women’s football through our distribution of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
“We’re excited to be building on our commitment to women’s football, by investing in and delivering a new tournament featuring the best teams and players from around the world, that will be broadcast to a global audience.”
More details on the competition will follow in due course.