My reaction to the FA WSL 1 going full time professional teams only

So there it is, the FA have announced that the  FA WSL1 has now become the rich boys/girls club and therefore decided demote to FA WSL 2 all the part-time semi-professional teams.

 

Now, this is NOT the fist time that the FA has demoted a side on non sporting merit, they did it back in 2014 when the Doncaster Belles were sent to the newly formed FA WSL2 to make way for Manchester City and its big money investment. It has to be said, Manchester City have been very succesful since and set the standard for many clubs in term of investment and facilities, but it still does not make it right for the Belles to have been sent down.

 

As we all know when sporting merit disappear and a close league appear, something gets lost somewhere although it is hard to define and quantify how to call it. Some would call it the football spirit, others might call it sporting integrity.  With clubs being franchises since the FA WSL inception, you do wonder if the FA  has always wanted the FA WSL1 to become long-term a typical US style league.

 

Back in 2011, when the League started, the clubs were given a three years tenure and protection to start-up the league. Promotion was only introduced with the FA WSL2 creation in 2014. At the time, the promotion was introduced on sporting merit, pending the usual financial and marketing investment possible. Three seasons ago promotion from the FA WPL to the FA WSL was also introduced on sporting merit, also pending the usual financial and marketing criteria and this year will see the first relegation from FA WSL2 to the FA WPL. This is the usual and natural functionality in the football pyramid.

 

So far in the FA WSL history no promotion has been rejected by the FA, be it to the FA WSL1 or the FA WSL2. There were no problems on financial ground and rightly so. But this sudden change will therefore halt all chances of success story like the one from Yeovil Town Ladies. They were a combination team for many years and went up all the way to FA WSL1 on a small budget with important values like their fans bill of rights and success on the pitch based on beautiful quality attacking football.

 

Now for the FA to close the door for that kind of team or any semi-professional team or even amateur, because they are not rich enough and don’t have enough facilities is really a kick in the teeth to the football traditional values. To me this is such a sad news really. Gone is the idea that a team can go up the leagues through hard work and football results. It originally happened when the FA WSL started in 2011 and the closed League system was not well received by many fans as it was a clear break from the way the football pyramid had been built and organized.

 

Let me be clear on one point, I think there is nothing wrong with the FA trying to have a full-time professional FA WSL1, this is what is needed at medium or long-term. But there are multiple ways to achieve this and natural organic natural growth for the teams in WSL1 would have made more sense to me.

 

We are now talking about a minimum investment needed for all the WSL1 teams, fine, it does make sense. Then what happens, if teams run out of cash because they cannot sustain the life style? Will the FA put in place more rigorous controls than the ones that allowed Notts County Ladies to fold?  Introducing the single unique business model to FA WSL1  in which is women’s teams supported by a parent’s men club is a dangerous game, as history can give us countless examples of teams going under as soon as the men’s team money vanished.

 

I mean how many self sustainable women’s teams exist without the men’s team money ? Not many because they simply cannot go in the red every year and accumulate debts like the Sunderland men’s team can do. To close the door to those teams on the basis that they can’t find a rich owner or a rich parent club, is just wrong.

I was talking earlier about copying the close door US League style, but it was also mentioned among fans that the FA would also love the FA WSL to have the same brand recognition as the Premier League. What better way to have the big Premier League clubs in the FA WSL and therefore the constant  lobbying of Manchester United to join the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA WSL1.

 

Now that new FA WSL1 will be launched, the FA can say “sayonara” to the likes of  Yeovil and Sunderland,( unless they come up with a pro team business plan), “you can go to the FA WSL2 as you are not rich enough “and then can promote anyone with bigger pockets from the  FA WSL2 or even below providing  that they can come with the right financial package.

 

You do wonder how many teams will be able to buy-in their way into that new FA WSL1 and how will the left-out teams will be redistributed. At the moment, there are 10 teams per WSL Division. I would be delighted to see  at least 8 full-time teams with sufficient financial means. But as we have known for years,  a league with only 8 teams is rubbish for scheduling, but that’s a problem for another day. I am genuinely curious to see how many teams will be able to sustain the investment level required by the FA. I am quite amazed the FA are looking at up to 14 teams overall to go full time professional.

So as the FA introduces another change to women’s football, we can say bye-bye for sure to the romantic idea of teams going through the leagues on sporting merit and hello to the big money boys and girls teams at the highest level.  Let’s hope no elite team will collapse in the near future and those left behind also suffer no consequences from their demotion.

I put a twitter poll asking about the changes implementing by the FA and although it is an extremely small sample, which means statistically it does not really reflect the fans’ view overall, the results are quite clear

23% approval rate is quite low, 54% rejecting the idea and and 23% thinking it is not even a serious idea to do so.

 

Obviously the FA are looking at what can improve the England team and the overall women’s football level in the country and they know what they are doing with the Gameplan for growth, but sometimes you do wonder if they act on the best interest for the clubs.

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FA WSL 1 Matchday 1 table v1.0

Here is the table after matchday 1 on the 22th Sep

Liverpool are the first leaders, Everton are in the relegation zone.

This is likely to change after Sunday’s game unless no one wins their game by more than 2-0.

 

1 Liverpool 3 pts +2

2 Arsenal 0 pt 0


3 Birmingham 0 pt 0

4 Bristol 0 pt 0

5 Chelsea 0 pt 0

6 Man City 0 pt 0

7 Reading 0 pt 0

8 Sunderland 0 pt 0

9 Yeovil 0 pt 0


10 Everton 0 pt -2

FA WSL 1 Summer transfer window 2017

The Summer transfer windows opens on the 23rd of June and will close on the 14th of September

This week’s transfers

Confirmed transfers

Extended contracts

Possible deals

 

Manchester City

In : Stephanie Houghton, Mie Jans ( Brondby IF), Karen Bardsley, Megan Campbell, Claire Emslie ( Bristol), Jennifer Beattie, Pauline Bremer (OL), Jill Scott, Isobel Christiansen

Out : Toni Duggan ( Barcelona), Kosovare Asslani (Linkopings), Lucy Bronze (OL),

 

Chelsea

In : Carly Telford, Magdalena Eriksson ( Linkopings), Drew Spence, Mariah Thorisdottir ( Klepp), Claire Rafferty

Out : Lois Joel ( West Virginia Mountainers), Ana Borges ( Sporting Lisbon), Fran Kitching ( Watford Ladies – loan), Jodie Brett ( Everton), Bethany England ( Liverpool -loan)

 

Arsenal

In : Vivianne Mediema ( FC Bayern), Gabby Ravenscroft ( Oxford United), Sari Van Veenendaal, Lisa Evans ( FC Bayern), Alex Scott, Miriael Taylor ( Chelsea Ladies), Ellie Perkins ( London Bees), Grace Neville ( Millwall) Jessica Samuelsson ( Linkopings), Josephine Henning ( Olympique Lyonnais), Louise Quinn, Danielle Carter

Out : Laura Hooper ( Seattle University Redhawks), Tinaya Alexander ( LSU Soccer), Chiara Ritchie-Williams ( LSU Soccer), Lotte Wubben-Moy  (UNC), Anna Patten ( FSU), Carla Humphrey (Bristol), Jordan Littleboy ( Hofstra university), Molly Peters ( West Ham Ladies), Rianna Dean (Millwall), Chloe Brunton-Wilde (Charlton Women), Sian Rogers ( Aston Villa), Charlotte Devlin ( Millwall Lionesses), Chloe Kelly ( Everton – loan), Fara Williams ( Reading), Florence Fyfe ( Oxford) 

 

Liverpool

In : Niamh Charles, Bethany England ( Chelsea- loan), Sophie Ingle, Satara Murray

Out : Danielle Gibbons ( Sheffield), Katie Zelem ( Juventus FC), Shanice Van De Sanden (OL)

 

Birmingham

In : Sophie Baggaley, Emily Westwood, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Meghan Sargeant, Sarah Mayling, Maddy Cusack ( Aston Villa), Charlie Wellings, Hayley Ladd ( Bristol), Lucy Quinn ( Yeovil), Freda Ayisi, Coral Haines,

Out : Sophie Baggaley ( Bristol  – loan), Ellie Brazil (Fiorentina), Chloe Peplow ( Doncaster – loan), Coral Haines ( Spurs – loan)

 

Sunderland

In : Rachel Laws ( Durham), Ellie Stewart ( Blackburn), Zaneta Wyne ( Thor), Simona Koren ( MSV Duisburg), Kasia Lipka ( Doncaster), Tyler Dodds ( Durham), Danielle Brown, Hayley Sharp,

Out : Stephanie Bannon ( retirement), Hilde Gunn Olsen ( Ayia Nypia), Maddie Hill ( ASD Verona)

 

Reading

In : Fara Williams ( Arsenal), Jade Moore, Charlie Estcourt

Out : Kayleigh Hines ( Oxford), Anissa Lahmari ( Paris FC), Charlie Estcourt ( Bristol -loan), Hannah McKenzie ( Spurs Ladies), Kylie McCarthy ( Watford), Chloe Sansom ( Brighton)

 

Yeovil Town

In : Paige Sawyer ( Bristol), Megan Walsh, Chloe Lloyd ( Cardiff City Ladies), Gemma Evans ( Cardiff City Ladies), Laura O’Sullivan, Hannah Miles, Georgia Evans ( Bristol), Chloe Melton ( Minot State Uni)

Out : Sarah Wiltshire ( Spurs Ladies), Angharad James (Everton), Nathalie Haigh ( Coventry) , Hannah Short, Steph Williams (Oxford), Molly Clark ( Portsmouth), Nia Jones, Charlotte Haynes, Lucy Quinn ( Birmingham)

 

Bristol City

In : Yana Daniels ( RSC Anderlecht), Danique Kerkdjik ( FC Twente), Carla Humphrey (Arsenal), Millie Turner, Chloe Arthur, Loren Dykes, Eloise Wilson, Jasmine Matthews, Sophie Baggaley ( Birmingham – loan), Charlie Estcourt ( Reading – loan), Florence Allen, Julie Biesmans ( Standard Liege), Frankie Brown, Lorca Van De Putte ( Kristianstad DFF), Corinne Yorston, Caitlin Leach

Out : Claire Emslie ( Manchester City), Megan Alexander (Milwall Lionesses), Lily Agg ( 1 FFC Frankfurt) , Katie Jones, Paige Sawyer ( Yeovil), Jodie Brett ( Everton), Hayley Ladd ( Birmingham) Georgia Evans ( Yeovil), Corinne Yorston ( Oxford – loan)

 

Everton Ladies

In : Gabby George, Georgia Brougham, Claudia Walker, Simone Magill, Kirstie Levell, Faye Brison, Siri Worm ( FC Twente), Marthe Musterman ( FC Twente), Mollie Green, Lizzie Durrack ( Harvard University), Angharad James (Yeovil), Megan Finnigan, Jodie Brett ( Chelsea), Chloe Kelly ( Arsenal -loan), Danielle Turner,  Olivia Chance, Chaney Boye-Hlorkah, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk ( Doncaster)

Out : Lauren Davies (AFC Fylde),  Emily Hollinshead, Amber-Keegan Stobbs ( West Ham), Sasha Rowe ( Liverpool Feds), Michelle Hinnigan, Fern Whelan ( Brighton), Aileen Whelan ( Brighton), Vicky Jones, Kelly Jones

FA WSL 2 Summer Transfer window

The Summer transfer windows opens on the 23rd of June and will close on the 14th of September

 

This week’s transfers

Confirmed transfers

Extended contracts

Possible deals

 

 

Doncaster Belles

In : Jules Draycott ( Sheffield), Chloe Peplow ( Birmingham – loan),  Kirsty Hanson, Leandra Little, Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley

Out : Bethan Davies ( loan –  Guiseley Vixens), Nicola Hobbs ( London Bees), Kasia Lipka ( Sunderland), Courtney Sweetman-Kirk ( Everton)

 

Durham WFC

In : Abbi Cottam, Kathryn Hill, Zoe Ness, Nicola Worthington ( University of Bridgeport), Ellis Dalgliesh ( Celtic Women), Emily Roberts

Out : Rachel Laws ( Sunderland), Tyler Dodds ( Sunderland)

 

Sheffield FC

In : Melissa Johnson ( Derby County), Danielle Gibbons ( Liverpool), Hannah Cain, Hannah Dale, Jenna Dear,

Out : Billie Murphy,Danielle Lea ( Fylde Ladies FC) , Natasha Flint ( Fylde Ladies FC) , Lagan Makin ( Fylde Ladies FC), Olivia Fuller  ( Fylde Ladies FC), Jules Draycott ( Doncaster Belles), Emma Lipman ( ASM Verona)

 

London Bees

In : Luke Swindlehurst ( manager), Rosie Lane ( Oxford), Evie Clarke, Rosie Kmita, Nicola Hobbs ( Doncaster), Lucy Loomes, Chelsea Weston, Destiny Toussaint ( Aston Villa), Ocean Rolandsen, Lisa Miliken, Bolu Fisher ( Stevenage FC), Tricia Gould

Out : Mollie Burgess ( MK Dons), Ellie Perkins ( Arsenal), Rosie Kmita ( West Ham Ladies)

 

Aston Villa

In : Dave Stevens ( head coach), Kerri Welsh, Beth Merrick, Katie Wilkinson, Chloe Jones, Sian Rogers ( Arsenal)

Out : Mollie Rouse ( Louisville Cardinals), Grace Smith ( West Virginia Mountainers), Joe Hunt ( manager), Lucy Porter ( Hofstra), Lucy Shepherd ( Hofstra), Claire Skinner ( Oxford United), Destiny Toussaint ( London Bees), Maddy Cusack ( Birmingham)

 

Millwall Lionesses

In :  Rianna Dean (Arsenal), Ella Rutherford ( 2 years), Megan Alexander ( Bristol), Charlotte Devlin (Arsenal), Victoria Wotton ( Watford), Leighanne Robe, Leanne Cowan, Megan Wynne, Bonnie Horwood, Leigh Nicol, Billie Brooks, Georgie Giddings, Ellie Mason

Out : Ashley Cheatley ( Ashford), Sarah Kempson

 

Oxford United

In : Madi Lee, Lauren Haynes, Riva Casley, Ellie Noble, Danielle Carlton ( Spurs Ladies), Ella Franklin-Fraiture, Lauren Allison, Kayleigh Hines ( Reading), Claire Skinner ( Aston Villa), Demi Lambourne, Evie Gane, Charlie Deeley, Emily Allen ( Cardiff), Stephanie Williams ( Yeovil), Hannah Short ( Yeovil), Chloe Chivers ( Cardiff), Florence Fyfe ( Arsenal Dev), Corinne Yorston ( Bristol – loan), Ellis Hillmann,

Out : Gabby Ravenscroft ( Arsenal Ladies), Rosie Lane ( London Bees), Uni Umotong ( Brighton), Lauren Allison

 

Watford Ladies

In : Fran Kitching ( Chelsea Ladies – loan), Sarah Jones ( Crystal Palace), Helen Ward (Yeovil), Kylie McCarthy ( Reading), Laura May-Walkley ( London Bees), Bianca Bragg ( Notts County), Ellie Sargeant ( WBA)

Out : Lauren Jordinson, Lucy Gillett ( Brighton), Victoria Wotton ( Millwall)

 

Brighton Women

In : Danielle Buet ( unattached), Uni Umotong ( Oxford), Hope Powell ( manager), Fern Whelan ( Everton), Aileen Whelan ( Everton), Lucy Gillett ( Watford), Felicity Gibbons, Chloe Sampson

Out :  Hollie Olding ( University of Kentucky), Alessia Russo ( UNC),  Amy Taylor (Lewes Ladies), Lisa Fulgence ( Lewes Ladies), Charlotte Young, Emma Byrne (retirement), Charley Boswell, Faye Baker

 

Spurs Ladies

In : Sarah Wiltshire ( Yeovil), Ashleigh Neville ( Coventry), Lauren Pickett, Hannah McKenzie ( Reading), Coral Haines ( Birmingham – loan), Bianca Baptiste, Josie Green, Lucia Leon, Sophie McLean,

Out : Megen Lynch ( Crystal Palace), Nikita Whinnett ( Crystal Palace), Kelley Blanchflower ( Cambridge)

FA WSL transfer window deadline day deals

There should be many deadline day deals with Oxford, Millwall, Everton expected to unveil new signings  today. Kasia Lipka, Laura Bassett and Hayley Ladd also are currently without clubs.

The tweets are already coming in this morning :

07:50

10:00

11:25

Bristol City announce they extended Frankie Brown’s contract. Quite curious as the player was listed as unattached during the 2017 Euros.

 

12:00

Chloe Peplow : Birmingham to Doncaster on loan

 

12: 17

Lucy Gillett :  Watford to Brighton

12: 25

Chloe Chivers : Cardiff City to Oxford

 

13:59

Lorca Van de Putte Kristianstad DFF to Bristol

14:00

Bethany England : Chelsea to Liverpool on loan

14:00

Maddy Cusack : Aston Villa to Birmingham

15:01

Florence Fyfe : Arsenal Women dev to Oxford

 

16:30

Coral Haines Birmingham to Spurs, loan

16:30

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk  Doncaster to Everton

 

17:20

 

Viki Wotton Watford to Millwall

Sunderland confirmed 4 new signings

Bristol announced Georgia Evans leaving them

 

 

Birmingham extended Charlie Welling’s contract

Oxford signed Corinne Yorston on loan

 

 

Ocean Rolandsen sign a two year contracts with Bees

and they also signed a midfielder Lisa Miliken

 

Corinne Diacre names her first France squad

Corinne Diacre has named her first squad for France’s friendlies against Chile and Spain. As World Cup host, France will have two years to prepare for the tournament by playing friendlies only.

As expected some veterans have been left out as the coach is looking towards the future. The golden generation that failed to win a medal in the last eight years is now making way for the new players, who will hopefully bring success to the team after winning multiple trophies with the youth teams.  Two players have announced their international retirement: Camille Abily straight after the Euros and Elodie Thomis who made the announcement last night on her Instagram.

Let’s have a look at the squad line by line and the main changes from the Euros.

GK: Sarah Bouhaddi, Meline Gerard, Solene Durand.

Gerard has now moved on to Montpellier from Lyon and should therefore compete for the starting spot with Sarah Bouhaddi. As a knock-on effect of this move, Laetitia Phillipe who used to be France number 3 keeper and starter at Montpellier is not selected  any more. Her former deputy at Montpellier Solene Durand who has moved to Guingamp in the summer is now on the list.

DF: Hawa Cissokho, Laura Georges, Thea Greboval, Sakina Karchaoui, Charlotte Lorgere, Griedge M’Bock Bathy, Wendie Renard, Marion Torrent.

From the Euro squad, Eve Perisset, Aissatou Tounkara and Jessica Houara-D’Hommeau are left out.  Perisset is dropped while the other two are injured. Three new capped players come in for them: Hawa Cissokho, Thea Greboval and Charlotte Lorgere. Hawa Cissokho and Thea Greboval won the U19 Euros last season and were runner-up at the U20 World Cup. Charlotte Lorgere has gone through the youth teams with 39 caps at U16 to U20 level and ten for the B team.  Veteran Laura Georges is still in the squad, while Marion Torrent might finally get a chance to prove herself at right-back.

MF: Elise Bussaglia, Camille Catala, Grace Geyoro, Amandine Henry, Ines Jaurena, Sandie Toletti.

Camille Abily has retired from international duty and Claire Lavogez who is currently injured are the two Euros midfielders missing out. Camille Catala is selected as midfielder, as she was under Bruno Bini, when Corinne Diacre was his assistant, rather than the back-up of the back-up at centre forward like at the Euros. Veteran Elise Bussagglia is kept in the squad probably to provide guidance and experience. Ines Jaurena returns after a long absence from the team.

FW : Viviane Asseyi, Kadidiatou Diani, Valerie Gauvin, Eugenie Le Sommer, Perle Morroni, Ouleymata Sarr.

Clarisse Le Bihan, Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie are dropped, Elodie Thomis has retired. Those four players were at the Euros in Netherlands and are replaced by youngsters Perle Morroni and Ouleymata Sarr (who has scored a hat-trick in the season opener with LOSC) and also players who have already been called in the past, but were not regulars in the squad, like Viviane Asseyi and Valerie Gauvin. Kadidiatou Diani and Eugenie Le Sommer are the only forward to stay in the squad following another tournament where scoring was again a problem.

Amel Majri who missed out on the Euros is still not fit and therefore not selected, as is Delphine Cascarino who is coming back from a long term injury.

France will play Chile in Caen on Friday the 15th of September with a 9pm CET kick off and Spain on the 18th of September in Calais with 9pm CET kick-off as well.  We might see a lot of new players being capped in one of those friendlies and we will see what kind of tactical options Corinne Diacre will select. We can probably expect a less defence and physical strength orientated team. It should be more creative  than under Phillipe Bergeroo and Olivier Echouafni.