Premier League was in talks to take control but has delayed a potential move; Sky News has learnt CVC Capital Partners and Bridgepoint have expressed interest
Last Updated: 16/09/20 7:04am
The FA will take its time to consider “a number of options on the table” for a takeover of the Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship.
The Premier League has been in talks about taking control of the leagues, but its chief executive Richard Masters recently insisted “now was not the right time”.
- WSL Results | Fixtures | Table
- WSL: Chelsea put nine past Bristol City
- How the WSL won the transfer window
In July, The Guardian reported that a majority of WSL clubs opposed the idea of a takeover by the Premier League amid concerns that the women’s game would play second-fiddle to its wealthier counterpart.
Sky News has learnt that CVC Capital Partners has become the latest suitor to approach the FA, following similar interest from Bridgepoint, the long-standing owner of the rights to stage the global MotoGP series.
Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of women’s professional game, told Sky Sports News: “It’s really early days. The FA has said it doesn’t see itself running the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship long term but we’ve helped create it and invested in it.
“It’s still in a development phase and we’ve got time to think through the different options for the long term that are going to make the league thrive and be successful.
“That could be the Premier League, it could be independent like the US model. There’s a number of options on the table.
“We’ll take our time to talk to the clubs and consider what’s best. For now, it’s with the FA and we’re focused on accelerating its development.”
Scott: WSL is best league in the world
Former England defender Alex Scott believes the WSL can “hand on heart” claim to be the best league in the world following a string of high-profile signings.
Five of the United States’ World Cup winners joined the league during a hectic transfer window, while England stars Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood returned home from European champions Lyon to sign for Manchester City.
Alex Morgan’s blockbuster switch to Tottenham last weekend gained global attention as she followed fellow USA internationals Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath and Christen Press in moving to England.
Meanwhile, champions Chelsea paid a club-record fee to recruit Denmark forward Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg.
Ex-Arsenal defender Scott, who retired from football two years ago, feels the influx of talent is a mouthwatering prospect and signifies a major milestone for a competition which launched a decade ago.
“I love it. It’s so exciting. I think when the WSL started, it always had the ambition to want to go on to be the best league in the world,” said Scott.
“What we are seeing now, we’ve got Euro medallists, World Cup winners, we’ve got our homegrown stars like Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood coming back, and that’s what you want.
“As a top player, you want to be playing week in, week out with the best players and against the best players.
“It shows the development and everything the FA have done to make sure the women’s game over here is at a stage where we can hand on heart say we are the best league, because we really are.
“All the best players want to come and play over here now. It’s such an exciting prospect to be a part of right now in this country.”
From the 2021-21 season, WSL teams will have to include at least eight homegrown players in their registered squads as the FA introduces a quota system.
Simmons told Sky Sports News, the new overseas signings have created a real “buzz”, but it is important to continue the growth of English talent and the national team.
“It’s great to have these names but it’s about making sure we keep that balance,” Simmons said.
“We’ve set out to be the best women’s league in the world and to do that we want a blend of top superstars from across the world and English players.
“The women’s game, probably more than the men’s, would benefit from a successful England side.”
Vitality agree three-year sponsorship of Women’s FA Cup
Women’s football has received a further boost after the FA announced a three-year deal for the Women’s FA Cup to be sponsored by health and life insurance company Vitality.
The competition will be known as the Vitality Women’s FA Cup from the quarter-finals of the 2019-20 tournament, which are due to be played later this month, until July 2023.
Simmons said: “At the moment, sports sponsorship would be a difficult space to try and get new partners in because nobody knows the true impact yet of COVID.
“This just demonstrates – even more so than usual really – where women’s football is at in this country, that it can bring a big brand in like Vitality, investing significantly in this climate.
“It’s on a big growth trajectory and every aspect of it is growing rapidly. It’s really exciting.”