England Women will not enter 2021 SheBelieves Cup, FA confirms

Katie Whyatt
·2 min read
Mina Tanaka #15 of Japan dribbles the ball as Steph Houghton #5 and Millie Bright #6 of England defend during the first half in the SheBelieves Cup at Red Bull Arena on March 08, 2020 - England Women will not enter 2021 SheBelieves Cup, FA confirms - GETTY IMAGES
Mina Tanaka #15 of Japan dribbles the ball as Steph Houghton #5 and Millie Bright #6 of England defend during the first half in the SheBelieves Cup at Red Bull Arena on March 08, 2020 - England Women will not enter 2021 SheBelieves Cup, FA confirms - GETTY IMAGES

England Women will not participate in the 2021 edition of the SheBelieves Cup, the Football Association announced on Thursday. 

England have played in the invitation-only tournament - run by US Soccer - since its inception in 2016, winning the competition under Phil Neville in 2019. They failed to defend their crown, finishing third with just one win from three games, when they flew to the US in March earlier this year for their last international games before the Covid-19 pandemic forced professional sports worldwide to shut down. 

In a statement, the FA cited concerns over the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, as well as a view that the travel for the tournament, in a tight international window, is no longer considered optimal for achieving technical and performance objectives. 

The statement read: "The FA has taken the decision not to enter next year’s SheBelieves Cup in the USA. England Women have been privileged to play in the tournament since its inception in 2016, challenging some of the best teams in the world.  

"Our withdrawal from the competition in 2021 is based on existing uncertainties around the future trend of the Covid-19 pandemic, together with a detailed review of our technical priorities for England Women.  

Sports Briefing
Sports Briefing

"The clear focus for our technical team will be to deliver an international fixture programme which provides the best possible performance outcomes for the Lionesses as we begin a crucial three-year period building to the home Uefa Euro in 2022 and Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023.  

"News of the Lionesses’ autumn fixtures will be announced in due course."

The United States won their third overall title at the tournament this year, which also featured Spain and Japan.