Women’s Super League and Championship clubs elect to form an independent organisation to take charge of women’s professional football in England.
On Tuesday the 28th of November, it was announced that Barclays Women’s Super League & Barclays Women’s Championship clubs voted to form a NewCo and appoint Nikki Doucet as CEO, a former CITI investment banker. This will mean that these 24 clubs will now begin proceedings to move into a new governance structure going into the 2024/2025 season.
The transition of both leagues to a NewCo before the start of next season is a move that will change the structure of women’s football irrevocably. Championship clubs will now want to ensure that the funding they receive will drive them forward as a pyramid is only as strong as its base. WSL clubs will also now be directly involved in running the league that they have been a part of for so many years.
Fundamentally this is fantastic news for the women’s game but there is a concern that this will widen the gap between the Championship and National League. Well, unless you have access to Premier League funds through your men’s side that is.
The FA, which has been responsible for the progression of the Women’s Super League to its current point, deserves a lot of credit.
“The women’s professional game is in the strongest place that it has ever been thanks to the hard work of everybody involved in its development so far, but we firmly believe that the NewCo will take it to another level entirely.Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football for The Football Association
Vinai Venkatesham, CEO of Arsenal Football Club and Chair of the CEO Working Group which led on developing the proposal for NewCo, said: “This is a pivotal moment in the history of the women’s professional game, as we look to work together to build the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women’s football club competition in the world.
“Setting up NewCo provides the opportunity to accelerate the sustainable growth of the women’s game and will not only support the development of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship but the entirety of the women’s football pyramid.
“It has been a constructive and collective effort to get to this stage, and Nikki’s appointment encapsulates the ambition we have for NewCo. With her vision for women’s football, the future is incredibly bright.”
I hope that NewCo do not fall into the same trap as the Premier League where it is more about chasing money than it is the players, staff and the fans.Stuart Barker, Since 71 Founder
This sentiment was echoed by Beth Mead who said the ‘’sky is the limit’’ to the proposals and praised the work that the FA has done up until now. The women’s game is growing exponentially, and following this announcement, there is a huge opportunity to make it self-sustaining and ‘’let go of those stabilisers’’ as Mead put it. This is an exciting time for women’s football, and the announcement is a big step in the game’s progression in England.