Why Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough is not hosting Women’s Euro 2022 fixtures – and Sheffield United's Bramall Lane is
It’s been 26 years since Hillsborough stadium was lit up with the sights of sounds of Euro 96.
The home of Sheffield Wednesday played host to supporters from Denmark, Portugal, Croatia as they shared host city status of Group D in the tournament with Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
But Hillsborough will not be directly involved in the latest major tournament to hit these shores as Wednesday continue their preparations for what is hoped will be a promotion-chasing 2022/23 campaign.
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The 2022 Women’s Euros gets underway at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, with the tournament taking in 10 different venues across nine host cities.
One of those host cities is Sheffield, with Bramall Lane hosting three group matches and a semi-final despite its lower capacity compared to that of Hillsborough. Rotherham United’s 12,000-seater New York Stadium – a venue with a long-standing tradition of hosting women’s internationals – is also a host venue.
The Star understands that Wednesday did put forward an application to act as a host stadium during the bidding process and that the application was warmly received by tournament organisers.
But the upgrade in some behind-the-scenes facilities including media facilities meant Bramall Lane ticked more boxes and swayed the bid their way.
Speaking to the BBC, head of tournament delivery Chris Bryant said: “We're really happy with the venues we've got, we've got a really great spread across England.
“Everyone can be a part of this tournament be it coming to a venue, coming to a festival or watching live on TV. We're really happy with what we've got.”
On criticism that some matches in the tournament would be played at smaller venues, Bryant said: “We're starting at Old Trafford and finishing at Wembley for the final. We've got a range of stadia and those stadia were chosen for a reason.
“We had to look at the stadia that was available to us at the time for the tournament, which stadia wanted to be part of it, but then also a mix of stadia in terms of size so that we could sell out matches.
“We want teams playing in front of full stadia, we didn't think it would be right for teams to play in front of half-empty crowds.”