Italy is set to host the tournament next year ©WBSC

Softball Europe has announced that the Women's European Softball Championship will take place from June 27 to July 3 next year.

The tournament was originally set to take place from June 7 to 13 this year at Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy.

The coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of the event.

Softball Europe's announcement is the second change of dates for the European Championships after the governing body initially rescheduled the competition for July 4 to 10 in 2021.

They have now opted for the slightly earlier dates.

A place at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham is guaranteed for the winner of the women's European contest.

Softball Europe say the tournament will aid Italy’s preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will also be held in 2021.

The tournament comes three weeks prior to the Games.

Italy are the defending European champions having triumphed at the 2019 competition by beating The Netherlands 3-2 in the final.

The Italian team were then unbeaten at the Softball Europe Africa Olympic qualifier, which sealed their spot at Tokyo 2020.

Italy are set to face hosts Japan, United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia in the Olympic softball tournament.