Alarm bells ringing as Sunderland Ladies downgrades to part time football

In a surprising move Sunderland have decided to revert to their previous part-time business model and leave the mixed full time and part-time model they used to run.

The announcement made on the official website is intriguing.

“After three years of operating a structure consisting of both full and part-time players, Sunderland AFC Ladies is to revert to its previously successful part-time model.

Over recent months, and after significant reviewing and analysis, it has become apparent that having a mix of full-time and part-time players was not working as effectively as the club, and indeed the players, had envisaged.”

Now I was under the impression that Sunderland was on part-time only in FA WSL2 and went full time when they managed to get promotion. I actually thought nearly all their players were full-time last season, like most of the teams unlike Reading  and Doncaster who also had a mix of full time and part time players.

Are Sunderland are going back to their old WPL structure ? There comes the alarm bells. They cannot really compete in WSL 1 with a WPL structure and budget ?  Does it means they are likely to lose their licence for WSL 1 and will go WSL 2 or will they have enought budget to even stay in WSL 2 ? As per the regulations, you have to match up what the FA gives you and it will be £92,500 for WSL 1 and £62,500 for WSL 2.
This is definitely worrying on the business side of the things and on the football side, the two teams that struggled hard  last season were Doncaster and Reading who did not have total full time professional football . Sunderland did also struggle and it is no surprise that those three teams with a mixed structure ended up fighting for relegation.
 As it looks like the parent team cutting the funding, it is another reminder that not every men’s team has the money or the willingness to support their women side with big money like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City do.
When you see the debt level is way above £100M at Sunderland, it is no surprise they don’t want to spend too much money on the Ladies team.  Someone is not really good on the business side to accumulate such level of debts. They could sell Jermaine Defoe and use part of fee for the Ladies team.
This is clearly a bad news for the League as a whole. While the FA is trying to push the clubs to go forward, Sunderland takes a few steps backward. With the licence renewal coming soon, you really wonder if more clubs are at risk. The FA have opened a backdoor for new entrants, should one team or more does not get its licence renewed. We will see if that case happens very soon. I thought some WSL2 clubs were at risk but to have a WSL 1 team struggling for money is bad.

France half season review and the road to the 2017 Euros

The France WNT has started a new cycle with a new manager Olivier Echouafni back in September 2016. Here we have a look at his first four months in charge and what can be expected for the next seven ones.


2016 : four trials games to learn about the team

Olivier Echouafni has tried 27 players in four games, since he tas taken over in September. The manager wanted to see as many players as possible and it included a marquee return for Gaetane Thiney ( and also some of her Juvisy team-mates Catala, Soyer and Bilbault).

In certain cases, call-ups were also due to recurring injuries to regular players. For example, Thomis and Kaci have not been selected so far for the team since September.

Besides Necib ( retirement) and Delannoy ( retirement from international football), the manager has selected at least all the players that were called up during Phillipe Bergeroo’s tenure.  Three players got their first cap under Echouafni. Delphine Cascarino, Eve Perisset and Aissatou Tounkara.



4 games, 2 wins,2 draw , 8 goals for, 1 goal against

Players used : 27

Goalscorers : Le Sommer (3), Hamraoui (2), Lavogez (1), Le Bihan (1), Delie (1)

Assists : Toletti (2), Abily (1), Bussaglia (1), Thiney (1)

Captains : Renard (2), Bussaglia (1), Henry (1)


Results :

France – Brazil 1-1

France Albania 6-0

England – France 0-0

France – Spain 1-0


2017 Seven warm-up games to fine-tune the Euro 2017 squad

If the first half of the season was a discovery phase for the manager, the second half will help him to make the final choices in his Euro 2017 23 players squad list. The January game against South Africa will allow him to test players and open the squad to players that played at the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

The SheBelieves Cup will be  a good test with teams from the Top 5 FIFA  ranking and a short but intense fixture list. The players who will be selected for that tournament are likely to be on the trip to Netherlands, if their performance there justify the manager’s choice and they do not get an long term injury until the end of the season.

The  fixture list (as of today)

22.01.17 France – South Africa, Saint-Denis (La Réunion) (friendly)
01.03.17 France – England, Chester (SheBelieves Cup)
04.03.17 France – Germany, Harrison (SheBelieves Cup)
08.03.17 USA – France, Washington (SheBelieves Cup)
07.04.17 Netherlands – France, Utrecht (friendly)
There will be also two more friendlies organised during the Euro 2017 preparation (June-July)

UEFA Euro 2017, Pays-Bas
18.07.17 France – Island, Tilburg (2017 Euros )
22.07.17 France – Austria, Utrecht (2017 Euros)
26.07.17 Switzerland – France, Breda ( 2017 Euros )

Note :  this is the translation from the orginal article ;