The European Figure Skating Championships are to be held in England for the first time in 20 years after Sheffield was successful in its bid to stage the prestigious event.

The National Ice Skating Association (NISA) is to stage the International Skating Union (ISU) European Figure Skating Championships, which will take place at the Sheffield Arena in 2012.

The city’s multi-million pound sports venue, iceSheffield, will be used as a training base for participants.

NISA, the national governing body responsible for the development of the sport throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, worked in partnership with Sheffield International Venues (SIV), Sheffield City Council’s Major Sports Event Unit, development agency Yorkshire Forward and UK Sport to put together a bid for the event. 

Keith Horton, chief executive of NISA, said: “We are very proud that we have been successful in our bid to host the European Figure Skating Championships in 2012.The announcement further highlights the support we have from the skating community.

“We have a commitment to bringing sporting events to this country to show that the facilities available are up there with some of the best in the world. We are very much looking forward to working with the city of Sheffield and our partners once again.”

The European Figure Skating Championships take place annually and is the third largest competition involving figure skaters behind the World Championships and the Winter Olympics.

Sheffield International Venues (SIV) chief executive Steve Brailey said: “This is a fantastic result for Sheffield and places the city in a position as a world leader for staging high profile ice sports championships.

“The first-class facilities on offer at the Arena and iceSheffield will provide an excellent venue for a competition of this calibre and will highlight the start of the Olympic year with a non-London based major event.” 

Cllr Sylvia Dunkley, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism from Sheffield City Council said: "This is really exciting news for Sheffield. It means that local people will have the chance to watch some of the best figure skaters, from all over Europe, compete in these Championships. And having this tremendous event here in Sheffield will bring money into our local economy, and that's good for local businesses and jobs. Sheffield is firmly on the map now for major ice skating tournaments, and I'm really proud of that achievement."

Andy Tordoff, assistant director Yorkshire Forward, which worked closely with NISA, Sheffield City Council, Yorkshire South and design agency Brand New to create a multi-media showcase of the facilities on offer in Sheffield and Yorkshire, said: “Yorkshire Forward is delighted that the International Skating Union has selected Sheffield to host the European Figure Skating Championships 2012.

“This demonstrates the excellence that can be achieved when partner organisations work successfully together to bring great sporting events to the region.  This event will have a positive impact on the region’s economy and give significant exposure to our facilities, athletes, businesses and innovators linked to ice sports.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This crowns a fantastic year for Sheffield and will mean Yorkshire will be the focus of the sporting world at the beginning of Olympic year. Sheffield is the UK’s City of Sport and international associations want to come to Sheffield because of its track record in hosting and delivering world class sporting events. This is undoubtedly great news for the economy of the city and we look forward to welcoming thousands of figure skating fans from around the world to enjoy the championships and all that Yorkshire has to offer.”

The SIV managed iceSheffield has already been selected to host to the ISU Junior Grand Prix in 2010, which will see leading junior figure skaters from across the world compete  in all ISU disciplines, which include single male, female, ice dance couples and pair skating categories.

The European Championships will take place at the Sheffield Arena between January 23 and 29, 2012.