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What Premier League takeover of WSL could mean for women’s football

The Premier League’s possible takeover of the Women’s Super League (WSL) is a potential game-changer for the female version of the sport.

The Football Association has done a good job in laying the foundations, but linking up with the Premier League could be the catalyst for women’s football to really take-off.

The cubs voted unanimously to conduct a feasibility study and the FA has confirmed that it is open to the idea of handing over control.

An FA spokesperson said: “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 (WSL). 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.

“We have recently established a joint WSL/Women’s Championship Board with the clubs to oversee the future strategy and policy of the professional game.

“It is this Board that will recommend the best way forward to The FA as it determines what is in the best interests of the leagues.

“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.”

With WSL attendances dropping below an average of 1,000, it is clear that something needs to change if women’s football is to be successful in England.

A £10 million sponsorship deal with Barclays is a step in the right direction, but with the right leadership the WSL is more than capable of attracting more investment.

England’s World Cup semi-final against the USA was watched by 11.7 million people, highlighting that the interest is there amongst the general public.

However, the WSL must find a way to convert those armchair viewers into fans who attend games on a regular basis and the Premier League is the ideal organisation to do just that.

Their efforts in turning the Premier League into a global brand have been truly remarkable and their marketing and business skills are just what the WSL needs.

La Liga’s involvement in the women’s game in Spain has proven to be positive and the Premier League could have a similar impact on the WSL.

The record crowd of 60,739 for the Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona game highlighted the potential of the women’s game on a wider scale.

Coming under the Premier League banner would increase visibility, boost commercial interest and help generate broadcast partnerships for the WSL.

The move is one that makes perfect sense – here’s hoping that it happens sooner rather than later.

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