Premier League offers £1million to help women’s game
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
The Premier League has offered English women’s football £1million to help enable the 2020-21 season to start, chief executive Richard Masters has told MPs.
Masters also told a Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee he would want the men’s top flight to take control of the professional game at some point in the future, but added ‘now is not the right time’.
The 2019-20 Women’s Super League and Championship seasons, halted in March, were ended formally on May 25 because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Chelsea declared WSL champions on a points-per-game basis.
Defending champions Arsenal finished third, while Tottenham Hotspur finished seventh in their WSL debut season and West Ham United finished one place below in eighth.
For health and safety reasons, testing players for coronavirus is key to getting the WSL and Championship up and running again. No extra funding for coronavirus testing was available to allow those competitions to extend and complete the 2019-20 campaign.
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Masters said: “What we’ve been able to do about the women’s game is to help them to the tune of around £1m to help get their testing programme up and running.
“We’ve recently made that funding gesture to them and I believe on that basis they are able to start their 2021 season.
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“Over the past year, we’ve had lots of dialogue with the FA and our own clubs about the Premier League, at some point in the future, assuming responsibility for the professional game.
“We decided collectively, that the FA and the Premier League and the WSL and Women’s Championship boards, that now isn’t the right time but we will return to that topic at some point in the near future.
“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 not just responsible for top of the pyramid in terms of the men’s game but also the women’s game.
“Those two things would work hand in hand very well, and would inspire a generation of young female footballers to get involved in the game.”
Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema suggested the idea last month in an interview as she said: “I would like it if the Premier League, for example, put a million in the women’s league.”