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WSL and Women’s Championship to move from FA to club-owned control

Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship clubs have agreed to form a club-owned organisation that will run women’s professional football in England from the 2024-25 season.

It will take control of the WSL and Championship from the Football Association, with each club in the two top tiers acting as shareholders.

Former Nike director Nikki Doucet will be the organisation’s chief executive.

The FA has run the WSL since it was launched in 2010.

A takeover of the WSL has been planned for some time after the FA revealed in 2018 that it had no intention to run the professional leagues in the long-term and welcomed proposals – including from the Premier League – before settling on the creation of an independent body.

The FA formed a working group of 10 chief executives from clubs in the top two tiers of English women’s football, chaired by Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham.

It is hoped the new structure will capitalise on the rapid rise of women’s football in recent years, accelerated by the England’s success at Euro 2022.

Doucet was appointed consultant to lead the takeover discussions and has gathered feedback from current players within both leagues and met with the Professional Footballers Association to get its views.

All 24 clubs backed the proposed structure and Doucet, a former investment banker, will start her role immediately, overseeing the transition to the new organisation.

The company is yet to be formally set up and the name NewCo, short for new company, is a working title at this stage.

She 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, Director of Women’s Football for the FA, 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.”

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