Senior English Premier League club officials including Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and Manchester City chief operating officer Omar Berrada are reportedly set to be named to the new board of the Women’s Super League (WSL), while the two clubs have confirmed that their women’s teams will play fixtures at their main stadia next season.
The BBC reports that Buck and Berrada, along with Tottenham Hotspur head of football operations Rebecca Caplehorn and Arsenal legal director Svenja Geissmar, are all set to be part of the new WSL board when it stages its first meeting later this month.
Along with senior executives from the Football Association (FA), which currently operates the WSL, the BBC said outgoing UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl and experienced media executive Dawn Airey will be two of three independent directors.
The news comes amid ongoing debate on the future development of women’s football and the WSL following the conclusion of the Fifa Women’s World Cup at the weekend. It was reported last week that the Premier League is considering taking over control of the WSL from the FA. Premier League clubs are said to have agreed to conduct a feasibility study into the matter following talks between the league and the FA, which launched the WSL in 2011.
The FA’s director of the professional game, Kelly Simmons, has also said she expects a number of WSL matches in the 2019-20 season to be “double-headers” with Premier League games. While the 2019-20 WSL fixture list is set to be announced in full tomorrow (Wednesday), Chelsea and City have already acted to give greater visibility to their women’s teams.
Chelsea has said its season-opening clash against newly-promoted Tottenham will be played at Stamford Bridge on September 8, with all tickets made available free of charge. Chelsea’s women’s team normally plays at Kingsmeadow, a 4,850-capacity ground that is shared with League One club AFC Wimbledon.
The opening weekend of the WSL season has been scheduled during an international break from men’s Premier League fixtures. Manchester City has announced that the first WSL Manchester derby against Manchester United will be played at the Etihad Stadium on September 7.
Like Spurs, United also sealed promotion to the WSL last season. The Manchester derby will be the second time City’s women’s team will play in the Etihad Stadium. In May 2014, City beat Everton 1-0 in front of a crowd of less than 1,500 in the group stages of the Continental Cup, a competition City went on to win the team’s very first trophy in.
City’s women’s team usually competes at the 7,000-capacity Academy Stadium, which is located close to the Etihad Stadium. Tickets for the United clash have been priced at £7 (€8/$9) for adults with up to three Under-16s permitted to attend for free with each adult ticket. Tickets for any additional Under-16s are priced at a reduced rate of £2 each.