Request the FA reconsider plans to exclude non professional sides from WSL1 next season
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The Football Association have announced plans, one week into the new FA WSL season, that from the start of 2018/19 season. Only Clubs who can afford to operate on a 'full-time professional' basis will be accepted to compete in the new top tier of the Womens Football Pyramid. The new criteria will mean Clubs such as Yeovil Town Ladies, Sunderland and other could lose their place, not due to results, but lack of finance.
A Professional Top Tier could well be good for the game in time, but to give existing clubs such as Yeovil 44 days to secure in excess of £350,000 or lose their place is unacceptable. Clubs that have been built on sound management and achieved their dream of playing top flight football left in tatters, so that 'bigger' Clubs can purchase their place.
We request the FA postpone plans until at the earliest 2019/20 season and grant all existing WSL1 Clubs a one year licence to allow them time to source suitable funding streams and create a sustainable business plan
Teams should only ever be relegated on results, not a Clubs financial power. These proposals will force Clubs into debt or be completely in the hands of owners of Premier League and Championship Clubs. Notts County are a prime example of what happens when a mens Club has financial problems - the women's team are the first casualties.
Notts County Ladies were formed in 2014 after taking over Lincoln City''s womens team.They were accepted straight into the WSL and in 2015 reached 1st Womens FA Cup Final to be played at Wembley Stadium, losing 1-0 to Chelsea. A showpiece for womens football, 'a new dawn', showing the great achievements of the FA with womens football. On the eve of the 2017 Spring Series, Notts County Ladies went into liquidation, leaving players 'homeless and jobless' The new owner of Notts County FC said he had no choice as the Club had a projected income of £18,000 but an operating cost of £500,000. That is what happens when projects are rushed and everyone looks at the positives but fail to consider the negatives.
These plans will have far reaching and long-term effects on the women's game in England not just the top flight. Clubs will no longer be able to work their way through the Pyramid to compete with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City based on ability. That removes the dreams of 1000''s of girls and women.
Katie Brazier, FA Head of Womens Leagues and Competitions has gone on record as saying that she accepts Clubs such as Yeovil Town LFC or others may lose their place they earned on the pitch, but it will be "for the greater good of the game". I'm not sure the players, management and fans of those clubs see it that way.
I started and now support Chelsea Ladies FC, so on a personal basis these plans have no detrimental implications for my team. However I'm also a fan of women's football and happen to believe that as the FA so proudly boast, it is 'A Game For All'.
Please reconsider the changes and give the Clubs who have worked so hard to drag the womens game into the 21st century, in spite of the FA''s 50 year ban on women playing the game, the opportunity to preserve their place in the top tier. It is the very least they deserve!
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