Historic Plans for New League & Coverage of English Women’s Soccer

December 17, 2010

Detailed plans have been revealed regarding the Football Association’s (FA) plans to launch a new Women’s Super League for English soccer. The league will consist of the top 8 club’s in the country and is backed by a television deal which will run from April until August of next year.

The news comes as the most significant in the history of women’s soccer in England though the FA are being conservative in their approach after the American league, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has hit hard times of late.

Head of the National game at the FA, Kelly Simmons said: “We’re not going too big too quick. We won’t have full squads of professional footballers straight away. Ours is more of a conservative approach, which we think is more sustainable. It is a very different model. The US have struggled, they invested too much in salaries. They haven’t got the revenue to pay the salaries they’re paying, and their costs are much higher than us because of travel.”

The FA have revealed that US$3.1m worth of investment will be provided to support the plans over the next two years. Half of this will go directly to the clubs and the rest will cover the running costs of the league including central contracts for 20 England players at $24,000 a year. The new funding brings the FA’s support of the plans for women’s soccer in England to $4.7m.

Major broadcasting company ESPN have been announced as the official rights holder to air 30-minute weekly highlights along with 5 live matches from the first season. Although the league will not command any TV revenue, the FA will not be expected to cover production costs for ESPN – a rarity in women’s sport.

While the WPS offers significantly improved wage packages than in this country, the new Super League is unlikely to attract international stars, though this is not the priority according to England Women’s team manager, Hope Powell. Powell stated: “If I’m honest there’s great talent around the world, but my ambition is to have this league produce homegrown talent. I’d like it to be an all-English league that encourages younger players coming through.”