England will host the 2021 Women's European Championship, UEFA confirmed, according to the BBC. The FA was the only bidder but "had to meet strict guidelines" before being named host it by European football's governing body. FA Head of Women's Football Sue Campbell said, "This is fantastic news for the FA, the country and for the development of girls' and women's football in England." The final will be held at Wembley. Eight other venues were included in England's bid. The other cities and stadiums to be used are Brighton & Hove Albion's Amex Stadium, Brentford's Community Stadium, MK Dons' Stadium MK, Man City's Academy Stadium, Nottingham Forest's City Ground, Rotherham's New York Stadium, Sheffield United's Bramall Lane and Southampton's St. Mary's Stadium (BBC, 12/3). In London, Louise Taylor reported the FA's choice of proposed host cities and stadiums is "controversial" as no games would be hosted north of Manchester and Rotherham. That means "a huge swathe of the north," most notably the northeast, could be excluded from easy access to the tournament. UEFA was "impressed by the strength of the FA's bid" for a 16-team competition concluding in a Wembley final but the geographical spread and limited size of certain venues "seems puzzling," particularly as Euro 2021 is regarded as "integral to the development of the women's domestic game." It appears "slightly unambitious" that the northwest is currently represented "merely" by City's Academy ground which only has a 7,000 capacity and is 145 miles by road from Newcastle. Meanwhile, Rotherham and Sheffield "fly the flag for South Yorkshire," leaving "potentially decent venues further north" including Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds, Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle excluded from the tournament (GUARDIAN, 12/3).
Events and Attractions
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin gave a "significant boost" to a proposed joint British and Irish bid for the 2030 World Cup by saying that he would not favor Spain joining forces with Morocco for a "rival bid," according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. A Spain/Morocco bid is "viewed as unbeatable" as it would have support from both Europe and Africa, but Ceferin said that he "did not want to see cross-confederation bids." Spain’s politicians have made public overtures to Morocco about bidding together, "possibly with Portugal too." Ceferin said, "I’m not in favor of cross-confederation bids, to be honest. Someone should say to the politicians it’s not up to them to speak about who will be hosts for sports events or not. I’ve seen many politicians saying they will be candidates for this or that but they need to speak to their member associations. ... But no, I'm not in favor of that [the Morocco] idea and I will do whatever I can to have one European bid because that raises the chances of Europe hosting the World Cup extremely" (LONDON TIMES, 12/3).
CONFIRMED: Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used in the @ChampionsLeague from the Round of 16 in Feb 2019 following successful technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months 📺#UEFAExCo pic.twitter.com/r3cOzjahUo— UEFA (@UEFA) December 3, 2018
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said that the governing body will "fast-track" the implementation of video assistant referees for the Champions League knockout stages this season. UEFA opted against using VAR this season, "despite the technology being employed by major European leagues" in Spain, Italy and Germany, as well as the World Cup. But Ceferin "flagged recently" that a report being prepared by UEFA referee execs could allow its exec committee to "revise its stance." It also agreed on Monday to "roll out the technology" in this season's Europa League final and next June's finals of the Nations League (REUTERS, 12/3).
The China Women's Open in December will be the inaugural tournament of the World Golf Series. The new event will take place from Dec. 13-16 at Orient Golf & Country Club in Xiamen, China (World Golf Series).
It was "officially confirmed" that Portugal will host the Nations League finals in June. The Euro 2016 winner qualified for the finals by finishing ahead of Italy, with Poland relegated from that group. UEFA confirmed Portugal will host the semifinals, final and third-place playoff from June 5-9 (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 12/3).
Two new races are to be added to the spring horseracing schedule in Sydney next October, without Racing NSW "needing to fund them using current industry revenues." Cox Plate Day -- the fourth Saturday in October -- will feature a race for sprinter-milers worth as much as A$10M ($7.3M) The event could be a 1,400m race run three weeks after the Epsom Handicap and a fortnight after The Everest. The second race being developed for the spring will "likely be for a seven-figure amount but the conditions under which it will be run have not been flagged publicly" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/3).