As England prepare for the final of the Women’s Championship, calls are mounting for an extra holiday should the team triumph over Germany on Sunday (31 July).
After the Lionesses defeated Sweden 4-0 in the semifinals on Tuesday (July 26), fans took to social media to request a special holiday to celebrate the historic victory.
England women have never won a World Cup or Euro in their history.
This year, however, they have been widely named as one of the favorites to win the competition – and now it looks like the lionesses will take home the elusive trophy.
But who backed the calls for a public holiday, and what did the government say about that?
What the government said
The Government has currently ruled out granting an extra bank holiday should England emerge victorious from the tournament, saying the cost would be “significant”.
A spokesman said: “The Lionesses did England proud with their fantastic run to the Euro 2022 final.
“The whole country will be cheering for them and hopefully will see a famous win against Germany on Sunday night. We will certainly celebrate their success.
“However, the current pattern of public holidays and bank holidays is well established and while an additional public holiday can benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional public holiday is significant.”
The comments come as the cost of living crisis continues, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that UK inflation has hit a 40-year high.
Who Supported the Bank Holiday?
Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer backed calls for a bank holiday.
He told The Mirror: “The whole country will be roaring at the lionesses in Sunday’s final.
“They’ve already made us proud, but if they win it will be a truly historic event – one that should be marked with a proper holiday when clubs can open and encourage access for women and girls.”
Conservative former Sport Minister Tracey Crouch and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey also told the newspaper they backed the idea.
Has this happened before?
As the men’s team qualified for the Euro 2020 final, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced similar pressure to declare a bank holiday should the side claim victory.
England eventually lost to Italy on penalties but when asked about the prospect of a bank holiday before the game, Mr Johnson kept his cards close to his chest.
He said instead that announcing a holiday would “tempt fate.”
How can I watch the final of the European Women’s Championship?
The final between England and Germany takes place this Sunday (July 31) at Wembley Stadium.
The game starts at 5pm and will be broadcast live on BBC One.
A women’s football match is forecast to see the biggest British television audience ever.
Pre-match action starts at 4pm and viewers can also stream the game on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website or UEFA.tv.
BBC 5 Live and Sounds will broadcast the final for radio listeners.