LONDON: England is to bid to stage theUEFA European Women’s Championship finals in 2021.

The bidding process for the tournament begins next month with a final decision due in 2018. England were eliminated in this year’s finals in the semi-finals by hosts and eventual winners Holland.

That game – part of a tournament expanded to 16 teams for the first time – generated a peak audience of 4 million TV viewers in the UK and Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn had said the bid reflected English football’s commitment to supporting the women’s game.

Glenn said: “The Lionesses’ performances at the Euros this summer gave the country great pride. It also showed the significant impact that hosting a major European tournament can have on growing and developing women’s football.

“Grassroots participation is growing, we think there will be more women playing football next year than playing netball, so it’s really growing fast. Hosting the Euros here in England in 2021 at Wembley and all the other great stadia around the country would really give the game another boost.”

In March, the FA launched its “Gameplan for Growth” scheme, saying it aims to double participation and create a successful and long-lasting high quality system for women and girls football.

The next Women’s World Cup will be staged in France in 2019.