WORLD Cup star Michael Owen is lending his support to England's first all-female football tournament, taking place in Durham this weekend.

The Liverpool hotshot has autographed an England shirt which organisers plan to raffle during the two-day event, centred on the police sports complex, at Aykley Heads, tomorrow and Sunday.

They hope it will attract widespread interest after an England shirt signed by the striker was recently reported to have been auctioned for more than £20,000.

PC Ian Kirkup, one of the two traffic officers organising the event, said: "We decided against holding an auction, as raffling gives all the girls taking part and everyone watching the chance to win the shirt of this extraordinarily popular international footballer. It seemed the fairest thing to do."

More than 220 girls aged between ten and 14 will take part in the tournament, which starts at 10am on Saturday, and features Football Association-registered women referees.

The first day will be limited to a dozen, seven-strong teams of youngsters aged between ten and 12, while on the second day, aspiring footballers aged between 12 and 14 will compete.

The tournament is being supported by the Football Association, the Durham Association of Clubs for Young People and the Durham Agency Against Crime, which has offered £500 towards its running costs.

PC Anne French said: "We will also have a football signed by former Newcastle United players, an autographed Darlington shirt and other prizes.

"The raffle will be drawn at the end of the competition on Sunday and all the money raised will be ploughed back into the development of girls' football. Advice will be available to anyone wanting to start up a team or any individual who wants to get involved in playing."