The Sweeper: The Women’s Super League, Who’s In and Out?

Super League

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The Football Association’s long and troubled effort to launch a professional summer women’s league has moved a step closer to actually happening: about a year from launch, they have announced the eight teams who will make up the league, out of 16 applicants. They are: Arsenal LFC, Birmingham City LFC, Bristol Academy WFC, Chelsea LFC, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Everton, Lincoln LFC and Liverpool LFC.

If we take a look at the current elite level of English women’s football, the FA Premier League, we will find a noticeable omission: Sunderland sit atop the standings currently (albeit second-placed Arsenal have plenty of games in-hand on them), but were not chose for the new Super League. Also missing from the Super League are fellow Premier League teams Nottingham Forest and Millwall.

Forest’s chief executive Mark Arthur expressed his disappointment: “When you are launching a new product,” he said, “you should surely include the biggest brands.” Arthur made his feelings plain: “”The application and decision-making processes were not satisfactory. We’ve done so much for the women’s game in recent years, yet we weren’t even granted an interview to explain our submission.”

Sunderland will be equally disappointed, if not surprised: word leaked last month that they would not make the final cut, leaving the north-east of England unrepresented in the Super League. Last month, Sunderland boss Maurice Alderson said that “”With the help of Sunderland FC, we put in a very strong bid and not for one moment did I think we wouldn’t get in. We’re top of the league, we reached last season’s FA Cup final and we’ve got nine current internationals at various age levels. To have all that on top of a bid backed by a Premiership club and get turned down is devastating. We’ve been kicked in the teeth.”

Without knowing the details of each application, it’s impossible to say if any of those clubs simply failed to meet the basic criteria the FA laid down or not.

Lincoln City were the surprise inclusion, with their rather interesting logo. They have an impressively ambitious statement on their website today looking forward to the future, including the Super League’s television deal with ESPN.

Since the inception of Lincoln Ladies F.C. it has been the club’s main aim, and indeed its main priority, to play at the highest level of women’s football.

This is the first time in the history of the city of Lincoln that a football club from the city will play in the highest league and at the highest level. It fills us all at Lincoln Ladies with great pride that it is our club that has delivered this fantastic prize and all the possibilities that go with it to the city, and to the people of Lincoln.

From the outset, we must stress that Lincoln Ladies will not be content with just making up the numbers in this new elite league. Rather we will strive, as we always have, to be champions of England, and we will now also look towards success for our club in European competition.

We will endeavour to build the strongest squad possible, which will include some players who presently play for us and also world class players who we hope to bring in from outside, to enable our club to achieve the success it craves, and to give the people of Lincoln a women’s football club they can be really proud of.

The Super League will be played in Summer, which of course means our supporters can enjoy watching our games in beautiful weather, warm sunny afternoons and balmy evenings, with all the benefits this will bring, enabling our club to make each football match a fantastic enjoyable and memorable experience.

It’s a real shame that the sporting success of Sunderland hasn’t been recognised, but the ambition and enthusiasm of a club like Lincoln does bode well for the Super League.

Quick Hits

  • Ridge Mahoney sums up MLS’ new labor deal, as all sweetness and light now pours forth from the players, league and owners: “For 2010, the salary cap will be $2.55 million per team (it was $2.32 million in 2009) and the minimum salary for non-developmental players is $40,000 ($34,000 in 2009). Each will increase at a basic five percent per year, though for older players the minimum will be greater. At that growth rate, the salary cap will be approximately $3.1 million in the final year of the CBA, and the minimum will be slightly more than $46,000.”  Personally, it seems to me to be a score draw given the positions each side came from.
  • Tim Vickery on a welcome sight, Uruguayan football (back) on the rise: “If it can keep grooming technically gifted players then this country of just 3.4m people will continue to punch above its weight on the football field – and that, surely, is a better course of action than punching below the belt.”

The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

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