Dust off the footy boots and grab your Lionesses jersey – Cure Leukaemia have today announced that they will be launching the country’s first female-only football tournament at the home of English football in 2023.
Following the huge success of the Copa Del CL tournament over the past few years, which has raised over £100,000 in the past 5 years – coupled with the Lionesses incredible European Championships victory this summer, the first women’s only tournament of its kind will be held at St George’s Park, Staffordshire on Friday 31st March 2023.
Hosted on the day by BBC Sport, BT Sport and Wimbledon presenter Kenzie Benali, each team will be coupled with a female football legend on the day as they look to lift the first ever Female Copa Del Cure Leukaemia trophy.
Players can take advantage of the opportunity to live a day like the Lionesses, from getting changed in the official England changing rooms to playing in matches on the FIFA-approved 3G pitches.
This years Copa Del CL event saw six female footballers take to the pitch alongside former England international, and now Sky Sports pundit, Sue Smith.
“How exciting! The girls winning the Euros in the Summer has inspired so many people – not just girls, but the boys as well! To have an all women’s tournament off the back of today’s success is amazing! We all love a bit of competition and we know the benefits of what football can bring.
“There have been so many people affected by cancer and that is what football does best – they come together. The most recent case at Tottenham, you could see how much it affected the Manager, the players and the staff. Everybody wants to help and whether that is entering one of Cure Leukaemia’s fabulous football tournaments or supporting financially, you can see the great work that the charity are doing.”
FA Women’s National League Chair and Partner at BDO Digital Sandi Dosanjh returned for her second Copa Del Cure Leukaemia this year and can’t wait for the introduction of a female-only tournament in 2023.
“It is absolutely super that Cure Leukaemia have now announced a female-only tournament for 2023. Off the back of the Summer and the success that we have had, there is clearly an interest there. Female players just need a little extra encouragement so having a female-only competition will get so much interest.”
“I have played in two previous Copa Del CL’s and I was always nervous building up to the day, but seeing teams also bringing along female players, there is almost a sense of camaraderie when you see another female, even if she is on the other team.”
“Sue Smith has been a big plus to this year’s (mens) event. When I’m wasn’t playing with my team, I was heading over to watch her. It’s nice to see female ex-pros playing as well so hopefully it will encourage more companies to enter the event moving forwards.
“I know so many female players that work in the corporate world that don’t have the opportunity to play in a tournament like this at St George’s Park against other female players and ex-pros. It’s great that we now that have this platform to capitalise on that.”
Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin commented:
“This year’s event has seen our biggest field of teams for our Copa Del Cure Leukaemia (with our highest number of female players) so we are delighted to be able to launch our first Copa del Cure Leukaemia football tournament designed specifically for female footballers in 2023.”
“We have seen a number of female footballers take part in our men’s tournament over the years, and feedback has been excellent throughout. The growing success of female sport in the UK has been remarkable and we wanted to be able to cater for these needs.”
All the proceeds from the Copa Del Cure Leukaemia are donated to Cure Leukaemia, and the ongoing battle to eradicate all forms of blood cancer, a disease which has affected many players and their families within football in recent years.