Premier League steps in with £1m WSL investment

Premier League steps in with £1m WSL investment
Although the Women's Super League concluded earlier than anticipated, the Premier League have stepped in and offered a £1million rescue package. The financial strain placed on football has been unimaginable due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now there is a concerted push to keep the women's game alive at such a critical time.

The WSL curtailed in May due to the pandemic as Chelsea were duly declared the champions on a points-per-game basis. In recent weeks, football has proved to be a fragile ecosystem and English football's governing body, the FA, who are responsible for overseeing the WSL, haven't been able to weather the storm.

Worryingly, the FA have already announced they are projected to make losses of £300million which will force the organisation into a restructure with a raft of cuts and redundancies on the way.

Despite fears articulated over the state of the WSL, reports have suggested that the Premier League will stump up a £1m investment for the WSL. The donation has been made to cover the costs of the coronavirus testing programme which is crucial to ensuring the 2020/21 campaign can get underway in September.

The funding will be a godsend for the WSL which has been riddled with uncertainty during the COVID crisis. Unlike the Bundesliga where the women's season was completed, the men's top flight has been castigated for failing to act in the same manner.

More widely speaking, the vast majority of WSL clubs operate with significant financial losses, with some women's teams relying solely on the men's teams, while others have a more organic method of development.

Manchester City's accounts for the 2018/19 season comprised predominantly of sponsorship and it is a move that their rivals will have to adopt especially with the game likely to return by closed doors.

Intriguingly, Premier League chief Richard Masters has dropped a clear hint he wishes to assume responsibility for the WSL.

He said: "We want the women's game to be successful, which is why we are helping them and why we've engaged in those discussions with the FA about resuming responsibility for it.

"From a personal perspective, it is something I would like to do in the future for this organisation - being just responsible for top of the pyramid in terms of the men's game but also the women's game.

"These two things would work in hand very well, and would inspire a generation of young female footballers to get involved in the game."

While there has been a surge in popularity in the women's game, it needs more exposure and there is a tangible benefit to the Premier League overseeing the men's and women's competitions. There has been a dialogue between the FA and the Premier League and the women's game needs to be publicised better than it has been in the past.

Though the Premier League hasn't always been forthcoming in helping out, the WSL can't afford to be left behind at such a critical time 

The generous investment to the WSL should merely be the start of things to come. In the long-term, the WSL needs sustained support and perhaps the Premier League is best placed to make the WSL more of an appealing product.

 

Written by Charles Perrin

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