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WSL to break away from FA and become club-owned league

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Women's Super League clubs will run their own organisation starting from the 2024-25 season

According to reports from BBC Sport, the Women's Super League (WSL) and Championship clubs are set to embark on a new journey as they transition from the Football Association (FA) to a club-owned structure.

This significant move, scheduled to start with the 2024-25 season, will see women's professional football in England run by an organisation owned by the clubs themselves.

Each club within the two top tiers of English women’s football will act as shareholders in this new venture.

Former investment banker to lead new endeavour for the WSL

Nikki Doucet, former Nike director, has been appointed as the chief executive of this yet-to-be-named organisation. It is understood that the body will operate under the working title NewCo, short for 'new company', for the time being.

The FA has managed WSL since its inception in 2010 but revealed plans for a takeover back in 2018.

The decision to transition control from FA was not sudden. It had been planned after the FA announced that it did not intend to manage professional leagues long-term.

A working group consisting of ten chief executives from WSL clubs was formed under Arsenal Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham’s leadership.

This group hopes to capitalise on the quick rise in popularity which has been enjoyed by the women's game in the UK, recently fuelled further by England's success at Euro 2022.

Doucet led takeover discussions and gathered feedback from current players across both leagues while also consulting with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to get their views.

All 24 clubs have backed this proposed structure and former investment banker Doucet is set to oversee its gradual implementation.

NewCo Chief Executive, Nikki Doucet, said:

"This is an incredibly exciting time for women's football. Having already worked with the clubs and the FA for a number of months, I've been incredibly encouraged by the collective desire and shared ambition to make our leagues the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women's club competitions in the world."

"It's a great privilege to help lead the next phase of this inspirational journey, which has been started by the FA through passion, investment and a steadfast commitment to the evolution of women's football."

Baroness Sue Campbell happy to hand over the reins of women's football

Meanwhile, FA executive Baroness Sue Campbell is happy to see the Women's Super League transition away from her control and into this new independent direction.

FA Director of Women's Football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said:

"The women's professional game is in the strongest place that it has ever been thanks to the hard work of everybody involved in its development so far, but we firmly believe that the NewCo will take it to another level entirely."

"Each of our 24 clubs and the league itself wants the WSL and Championship to be setting the standards for women's football around the world, and this venture into a new governing body is the next step in us achieving that ambition."

The 24 clubs and the league itself will aspire to help the WSL and Championship set new global standards for women's football. This transition into a new governing body is seen as a crucial step towards achieving that ambition.

As we await further details about this exciting venture, one thing is clear - it marks a significant milestone in the evolution of women’s football in the UK.

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