Agnew speaks out on threat to women’s game

Lewes Ladies boss Jacquie Agnew said she “agreed 100 per cent” with the view of the co-founder of the International women’s football organisation – Women’s Soccer United – that the Football Association was “doing all it could to limit the progression’ of the women’s game in England.

West wrote an article criticising soccer chiefs for their plans to restructure the FA Women’s Premier League and cut funding.

She said: “Why does it feel like the FA are doing all they can to limit progression of women’s football in England?

“Ending the long running and successful FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL) and replacing it with a ‘Championship’ style league combined with four lower tier leagues – cutting funding and giving them no opportunity to progress to the highest tier!

“The Daily Telegraph reported that the funding of what was £145,000 per annum spread across the 22 WPL clubs is to be dropped to £90,000 [p.a.] to cover 70 clubs.

“The result of this could see most of the clubs struggle, some of whom could fold, which will have a devastating effect on grassroots football.

“It makes me angry, the lack of respect and blatant disregard of organisations that have made probably the biggest impact on growing the game, yet receive little recognition.

“The clubs have many years of hard work and achievement behind them.

“Many of the clubs have enjoyed competing at the top level and this is going to be taken away from them.

“When the introduction of the English Women’s Super League was announced, I wondered why they did not either make the current FAWPL become the ‘Super League’ or at least allow the Premiership clubs the opportunity to be able to earn promotion into the WSL.

“It would have seemed so much more logical to have really supported the current successful pyramid set-up.

“Instead they selected clubs based on other criteria such as finance rather than merit, and removed them to an elite league away from the rest of the teams.

Agnew said: “I agree 100 per cent with what Gina has to say and would have written exactly the same thing.”

Lewes Ladies are currently mid-table in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.

Gina West copy courtesy of www.womenssoccerunited.com