Home » Euro 2025 hosts Switzerland accused of ‘scandalous’ funding cut

Euro 2025 hosts Switzerland accused of ‘scandalous’ funding cut

Euro 2025 hosts Switzerland accused of ‘scandalous’ funding cut

The Swiss government has been warned it risks stalling the growing momentum of women’s football in Europe following the “scandalous” decision to cut its funding for Euro 2025.

In 2008, Switzerland was supported in its joint-hosting of the men’s European Championships with a package of £71m (82m Swiss Francs) from its Federal Council, but the amount allocated for next summer’s women’s tournament has been dramatically reduced to just £3.5m (4m Swiss Francs).

The staging of Euro 2025 in Switzerland follows the record-breaking Euro 2022 in England, where the Lionesses defeated Germany in the final in front of a sold-out Wembley at the end of a four-week tournament that smashed several attendance records.

Euro 2022 was a huge success for Uefa and proved to be a landmark moment for women’s football in Europe, with the total attendance of 574,875 more than doubling the previous record, set in the Netherlands in 2017.

But with qualifying for Euro 2025 starting this week ahead of the tournament finals next July, doubt has been cast over Switzerland’s ability to support the growth of women’s football after government funding was reduced due to cost-cutting measures.

Tournament organisers in Switzerland were expecting to be allocated funding that was closer to £17.4m (20m Swiss Francs), with the money set to support local transport, tourism and marketing projects seen as fundamental to the wider success of the event. When Switzerland co-hosted Euro 2008 with Austria, the majority of the £71m government funding went towards security, given there are traditionally far more problems with fan trouble around major men’s international tournaments.

The two chambers of the Swiss parliament are expected to vote against the decision made by the country’s seven-member Federal Council, which was announced earlier this year. At the time, a statement from the Swiss Football Association said the funding was “only partially sufficient” to achieve its goals for Euro 2025, with Switzerland hoping to follow the success of Euro 2022 in England by creating a lasting impact for Swiss girls’ and women’s football.

The Lionesses defeated Germany in front of a sold-out Wembley in the Euro 2022 final (Getty Images)

The president of the Swiss parliamentary group for sport, Matthias Aebischer, told The Independent that the Federal Council’s cost-cutting decision was a “scandalous approach” and “an affront to equality”.

“Women’s and girls’ football has developed enormously in Switzerland in recent years,” Aebischer said. “The fact that Wembley Stadium and Old Trafford were sold out during the Women’s Euro 2022 has not escaped us. The Swiss government, on the other hand, probably needs some extra tuition.”

Qualifying for Euro 2025 starts tonight, with defending champions England hosting Sweden at Wembley – the scene of their victory over Germany in the Euro 2022 that was attended by a crowd of 87,192, itself a record for any European Championship final, men’s or women’s.

Hosts Switzerland will be joined by 15 other European countries at Euro 2025, with games played across eight Swiss cities. The final will be held at St Jakob-Park in Basel, the country’s biggest football stadium, although a venue which has a capacity of just 37,500. Further questions have been raised over Switzerland’s suitability to host the European Championships following the success of Euro 2022, given the tournament bid included only three stadia with a capacity of over 30,000.

A statement from Uefa said: “We remain confident that together with the support of the local and federal authorities the tournament will become an outstanding success for women’s football in Switzerland and beyond.”

Switzerland was selected as host of Euro 2025 in April 2023, and was voted ahead of rival bids from France, Poland and a joint-Scandi bid from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.