The new FA Women’s Super League (WSL) structure was revealed yesterday and has proved a hugely disappointing news for the Palace Ladies.
Their application to join the new second tier has been rejected which means Palace, third place finishers for two consecutive years in the Premier League South, remain at the same level for next season.
Elsewhere, West Ham United move up to the top division after finishing SEVENTH in the same division as Palace while Sunderland have dropped out completely. After finishing as runners up in WS2, Brighton & Hove Albion move up to the new eleven team WSL1 – that number of teams that ensures one sits out each week just like the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the USA.
One of the biggest talking points is Manchester United being granted a license to join the new second tier having decided to start up a team for the first time in 13 years. Watford and Oxford United are the two teams that join Sunderland in dropping out having been WSL2 participants since its formation. Lewes Ladies and Sheffield United are two surprise inclusions at the expense of the likes of Southampton and Palace.
The decision to allow United to join at the second tier is the one that has frustrated many. If they are so intent on jumping on the bandwagon of the success of the women’s game, there is no reason why they should not start at the bottom and work up like all clubs have had to do. This decision effects the credibility of women’s game in this country and proves once again that money talks. There is a real feeling that the FA has needed United involved more than the other way round due to their global appeal and the publicity surrounding them joining the league will have.
Regardless, this has led to plenty of frustration and anger over the decision by the Football Association. The women’s game will turn into nothing more than a money spinner with decisions like this. The FA have been clearly been blinded by the pound signs, glamour and worldwide appeal that United offer.
After working with the Palace Ladies for a few years now, TEB know how disappointed the good people at the club will be. The decision is a major setback and leaves a real sour taste in the mouth but there is no doubt that it will be channelled in the right way.
The statement by club chairman Richard Spokes is below in its entirety which is full of professionalism considering the huge disappointment the news has been in and around the club;
The FA, today announced their choices for the available Tier Two places for the 2018-19 season, following a lengthy, complex and testing application process.
Despite what has been described as a credible and strong application, it has been decided, by The FA, that the bid by Crystal Palace Ladies FC, was edged out by others in the final decision process.
The Club, and we are sure , the entire Crystal Palace FC family, are hugely disappointed in the decision made, following a bid based on, footballing provenance and progression throughout the FA pyramid, integrity, incredible support, sustainability and innovation.
At this time, The Club awaits feedback from the process, to establish the areas that affected the final decision and will study these as a means of assessing immediate and future opportunities.
There is a sense of overwhelming disappointment across our Club, today, as much based on a real belief that we were ready for this transition and had presented a viable and credible case for this. As a club, we have developed, and will continue to do so, within The FA structure, providing a fit for purpose, compliant and resilient system, geared towards the commitment of The FA to the women’s game and our playing at the highest levels possible. It remains the intention of Crystal Palace FC to be a significant part in the future of women’s football and we will all, therefore, work our hardest to ensure that our ambitions are recognised and met at the earliest opportunity.
The Club would like to thank every person who assisted in the bid process, many of whom willingly gave very valuable free time to do so. It is this spirit and our place within a club that has the passion, heart and desire of Crystal Palace FC, that will enable us to see our ambitions, rightly achieved.
There is no doubting everyone involved with the Palace Ladies will continue their hard work in an effort to do things the right way and achieve promotion to the WSL. It is a very bitter pill to swallow but hardship often happens before glory so we look forward to the Palace Ladies doing their talking on the pitch once again next season.
Heads up Palace, we’re all behind you. The future is most definitely bright!