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Euro 2022 improved the perception of women’s football

UEFA has published its report of the positive impact and future legacy of Women’s Euro 2022, with one of the key findings that almost everyone who attended a game at the tournament left with an improved perception of women’s football and keen to go to a game again in future.

The total cumulative tournament at Euro 2022 surpassed 570,000 by the time the final was played at a sold-out Wembley Stadium. That figure included just over 110,000 spectators who travelled to England from 104 countries around the world.

Various existing UEFA Women’s Euros attendances records were smashed, while 87,192 people at the final was the largest ever attendance for a European Championship match – men’s or women’s, surpassing a mark that had stood for 58 years since the men’s final of 1964.

On UK television alone, a peak audience of 17.4m watched the final on BBC One, accounting for 80% of all TV viewers in the country during extra-time.

In terms of overall reach, UEFA estimates that the whole tournament was watched by a cumulative live global audience of 356 million in 195 territories, with 453 million cumulative social media interactions taking the women’s game to new levels worldwide.

Independent surveys have revealed that 84% of spectators said Euro 2022 has improved their perception of women’s football, 85% of spectators likely to attend professional international and domestic women’s football events again in the future, and 88% likely to at least watch on TV.

But Euro 2022 had also made its mark beyond just the 31 games that were played. One of the key legacy hopes for the tournament was to inspire a new generation to get involved in football at any level in any capacity. As such, 416,000 new opportunities have been created in England in schools, clubs, and the community to engage women and girls in grassroots legacy football activities across the host cities, whether it be playing, coaching, officiating or volunteering.

More than half of local residents and around 2 in 5 volunteers have been inspired to do more sport and physical activity generally by what they witnessed in the summer.

There has also been a positive social and economic impact from Euro 2022, whereby 74% of local residents in host cities feel their community has been brought closer together and 84% of participants in legacy activities report improved confidence and self-esteem. The host cities also saw an £81m boost because of the tournament, with £44m specifically spent around matchdays and trips.

“Our aim for this tournament was twofold: to deliver a record-breaking tournament and to leave a tangible legacy to grow the women’s game,” said Baroness Sue Campbell, FA director of women’s football.

“Our work certainly does not stop here, we will continue to use this tournament to inspire positive change, not only in our host cities, but across the country.”

Those sentiments were also echoed by UEFA chief of women’s football Nadine Kessler, who declared: “We must now capitalise on these successes to continue advancing our game for girls and women, to secure further commitments to women’s football as well as to showcase the benefits of hosting this tournament as the bidding process for UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 is underway.”

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