Brighton chief Paul Barber makes Amex Stadium admission for WSL matches

Albion chief executive Paul Barber admits playing their WSL matches at Crawley’s People’s Pension Stadium is far from ideal and wants to host more at the Amex.

Hope Powell's team enjoyed a 2-0 victory against West Ham at the Amex last Sunday
Hope Powell's team enjoyed a 2-0 victory against West Ham at the Amex last Sunday

Hope Powell’s team were off to a winning start in the WSL with a 2-0 win against West Ham last Sunday in a rare match played at the Amex.

Most home matches however are in Crawley as opening the Amex is not cost effective. The women’s team moved into their £8m training facilities at Lancing and Barber insists the club will continue to invest in the women’s game and work towards establishing themselves as a top four team in the WSL.

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“We would love to have more games back in Brighton. It is difficult to fit every game into this stadium all the time. The demands on the pitch are already quite significant. In the world we are in at the moment it’s the men's team that generates a significant income that helps us to run the club and sustain women’s football and our academy. We have to prioritise the men's first team in terms of use of the pitch.

“That said we want to build the women’s game and play our part in that. We are looking at the fixture calender and looking for opportunities to bring Hope’s team here and we will keep doing that. We know Crawley is not ideal in lots of ways. If we can get more matches we will. It’s an expensive stadium to open and when we open it and have 2,000-2,500 fans it’s not a cheap exercise.

“Hope understands that and we are very open with Hope and the team on how many times we can get them into the stadium. Where we can we will and where there are opportunities to look at opportunities to get them back to the city we will.

“We have a massive commitment, we have just invested over £8m for a headquarters for the women’s team at the training ground.

“We are committing ever more each year to salaries and staff for that area and the whole set up is becoming more and more professional. We are on the right track and we will keep going with it.”

Albion chairman Tony Bloom added: "The new facilities are amazing. I was at the Amex on Sunday and we played really well and to get a 2-0 win was a great start to the season.

"Just like the Premier League, the WSL is really competitive and competing against the top four teams the gap in the women's game is bigger than the men's game.

"It is really tough for us but we have ambitions to compete in the top four. It's highly ambitious but it is great to have such a target. I wish Hope and all the players the best of luck for the rest of the season."