England Women withdraw from 2021 SheBelieves Cup

England Women will not be taking part in next year’s SheBelieves Cup, the Football Association has announced.

The four-team invitational tournament hosted by the United States has taken place each year since 2016, with the Lionesses featuring in every edition to date.

A statement from the FA on Thursday 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.

“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.”

England won the competition in 2019, before coming third at this year’s tournament in March, suffering defeats to the USA and Spain either side of a victory over Japan.

The following month, after confirmation the Tokyo Olympics and Women’s European Championships were being rescheduled due to the pandemic, it was announced boss Phil Neville would not be staying in charge beyond the end of his current contract, which runs to July 2021.

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