Premier League Sets Aside £1m Fund for WSL as Takeover Interest Continues

Chelsea v Reading - Barclays FA Women's Super League
The WSL is run by the FA but the Premier League is interested in taking it over | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Premier League has set aside £1m to invest in the Women’s Super League next season for ‘testing’ as interest remains in taking over the running of the women’s game.

The FA currently oversees the running of the WSL but there is a belief that the league and the development of the sport in general could benefit from the more commercially driven outlook of the Premier League, which is a world leader on the men’s side.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays FA Women's Super League
The Premier League will invest £1m in ‘testing’ for the WSL | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Women’s football is still on a high following the success of the 2019 World Cup in France, during which four England games set new television records for women’s football in the UK.

The WSL saw large crowds for several games that were played at Premier League venues, such as the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on the opening weekend of the campaign that was played in front of more than 31,000 people. The following day, 25,000 turned up at Stamford Bridge.

A potential Premier League takeover of the WSL has been on the cards for some time and the FA, who are ultimately limited in how far they can take the competition, are believed to be open to it.

Labout MP Julie Elliott has revealed that she has been informed by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters that a pot of £1m has been made available to the WSL for the 2020/21 season for ‘testing’. Elliott also relayed that interest in the takeover firmly remains.

An FA statement in July 2019 read: “The FA can confirm that it is supporting the Premier League in a project to explore the long-term feasibility of the Premier League running the Women’s Super League. This is a purely exploratory project and based on a long-term timescale.

“The FA is proud that it set up the first European women’s professional league and the relevant player pathways as part of its commitment to growing the women’s game….however, The FA has always been clear that it is open to an external body running the WSL in the long term, as The FA’s remit is to support the game from grassroots to elite teams.”

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