A MAJOR international football tournament will be coming to Southampton.

Three matches of the Women’s EURO 2022 will be played at St Mary’s Stadium.

The tournament which kicks off 500 days from now is touted as the biggest women’s football event in UEFA history.

And next summer, three group stage games will be played in Southampton on July 8, 11 and 15.

The opening match, on July 6, will take place at Old Trafford with the final on July 31 to be played at Wembley.

Commenting on the announcement, Councillor Satvir Kaur said: “Southampton is excited to be hosting the tournament. As a city we are known for our events; starting the countdown for this tournament not only gives us something to look forward to but acts as an important reminder that we will be able to enjoy and bring the city together with events again.”

The Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture has said that sport is an important part of Southampton’s cultural identity.

She added: “Bidding for UK City of Culture 2025 is about showcasing the best Southampton has to offer, and the tournament will give us an opportunity to do this nationally and internationally, while growing our local economy and putting Southampton on the map.

“It will also be a great way to engage with local communities, create a legacy for women’s football and inspire the next generation of lionesses.”

Meanwhile, Giles Semper, the chief executive of GO! Southampton has praised the hosting choice.

He said: “It’s fantastic that Southampton has been chosen as a host city for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

“Like the rest of the country, Southampton is looking to power out of the pandemic and make up lost economic ground.

“Being a host city next year will not only assist with our economic recovery but will also show that we can be a host city for other national events.

“Football is a huge part of our culture here, so hosting an England Lionesses game at the stadium is something to be proud of.

“In the depths of this pandemic, it is also thrilling to think that we will be welcoming national and international supporters and that the era of empty stadia can end.”

Originally scheduled for this year, the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For information about tickets and dates for the 31 matches, visit the UEFA website.