FA 'to have women's soccer board with club representatives'
English soccer’s Football Association will create a new board dedicated to developing women’s soccer which will include club representatives for the first time, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
The new board, which will be called the FA Women’s Super League and Championship board, will feature six club representatives, three from the FA and three independent performance and commercial experts, including an independent chair. The FA is expected to unveil a new women’s soccer strategy in 2024.
It is reported that the FA has asked all clubs to nominate senior representatives, including commercial directors and chief executives, to occupy the six seats.
Presently, the FA only consults with the Women’s Football Board, which has no club representatives. Women’s clubs are consulted but have no voting powers.
As part of the restructure, two club representatives will also sit on the Women’s Football Board, including representatives from the FA Council and the PFA.
Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of the women’s professional game, told the Telegraph: “It’s basically that clubs having a bigger say, and rightly so, because it’s their game and they’re investing significantly. Then we have the opportunity to bring in independent people who can link us into new networks and bring in valuable performance or commercial skills or to help us transform the game.”
The new board will be responsible for issues such as medical insurance, the quality of refereeing standards, and negotiations over a new domestic television rights deal.
The FA will tender a new TV deal next year as its current agreements with the BBC, the public-service network, and BT Sport, the pay-TV broadcaster, end in 2021. The existing deal does not entail a rights fee, with clubs providing broadcasters with content in return for free exposure.
Simmons claims that landing the right TV deal will be more important than securing a profitable one in the next cycle.
She added: “What’s the priority? You can try and chase the biggest possible figure you can get commercially or you might try and go for a strategy that’s more about what can give you the most eyeballs. They might not give you the same things and we’ve got to work that through.
“We’re at quite an early stage in terms of getting that audience. That might dictate which way the new board wants to go. In men’s football, the revenue is predominantly broadcast revenue. Women’s sport isn’t there yet. Some women’s sports pay for their broadcast deals - we’re neutral. Getting the right broadcast deals is hugely important.”