England announce new annual women’s international football tournament
England are to host an annual four-team women’s invitational tournament that will kick off in February 2022 and run for at least three years.
Six matches, played as three double-headers, will take place across seven days in a round-robin format. More details for the inaugural competition, including venues and ticket information, will be released in the coming weeks.
Germany, Spain and a nation yet to be announced will compete in the first edition of the competition. The annual tournament will significantly boost England’s international calendar and ensure the new manager, Sarina Wiegman, is able to test her squad regularly against world-class opposition, starting with the buildup to next summer’s home Euros and the World Cup in 2023.
In the February international window the Lionesses have traditionally taken part in the USA-hosted SheBelieves Cup. They played five times in the competition from 2016, winning the tournament in 2019 before the World Cup in France, but did not participate in the 2021 edition in part because of the pandemic.
Baroness Sue Campbell, director of women’s football at the FA, 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.”