Birmingham City Women: PFA supports players over complaints to club board

Birmingham's players sent a letter to the club's board last week detailing grievances with facilities, travel, and budget restrictions; the WSL side were beaten 6-0 by league leaders Chelsea on Sunday; Fran Kirby, Beth Mead, Katie McCabe, and others speak out in support of Blues players

Birmingham City, Women's Super League (PA)
Image: Birmingham City Women wrote to the club's board to raise complaints

The PFA is supporting Birmingham City Women players after they wrote a letter to the club's board raising issues around facilities, travel, and budget restrictions.

The FA is looking into whether Birmingham City have breached the terms of their WSL licence, following the concerns raised in the letter.

In the letter first, which was reported by the Sunday Telegraph, the players said they were experiencing working conditions that "prevent us from performing our jobs to the best of our ability".

The PFA says it has been "in close dialogue" with senior representatives from the Birmingham City squad throughout the season.

"There have been concerns regarding the squad's size throughout the campaign, particularly the potential impact on the players' health and fitness," a statement read.

"Following injuries in January, the PFA contacted The FA ahead of a Women's Super League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur.

"Due to the limited number of players available, we felt there was a potential risk to those who were not fully match-fit or carrying injuries if the match went ahead. The game was subsequently cancelled.

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"As discussions progress with the club, the PFA will continue to liaise with the senior squad representatives and give the players our full support."

Birmingham City's Harriet Scott and Chelsea's Pernille Harder
Image: Birmingham lost 6-0 to Chelsea on Sunday

The club has so far declined to comment to Sky Sports News, but a Birmingham spokesperson has spoken to the Sunday Telegraph, in response to the letter sent by their playing staff.

The club spokesperson said: "The letter was received, in the last week, and responded to. A request to meet with the board was made in the letter and the request was the first formal request to be received.

"It's no secret we have one of the lowest budgets in the league, Covid has only compounded this. This certainly makes it difficult to compete, but we're doing our best on and off the pitch in what is a very difficult time for professional football."

On travel issues, Birmingham said: "We are lucky to be based in the middle of the country where we can easily make journeys to our games without the need to stay overnight, whilst still being able to prepare our team in the best way possible to compete."

Regarding the medical concerns, the club spokesperson stated: "There are no plans to not be competing in the WSL next season, and the team are fully focused on doing what is required to keep Birmingham City in the WSL.

"Both the men's and women's first teams are yet to secure survival in their respective leagues. This makes it hard to start contract negotiations for next season. It has been a challenging time for everyone, including us.

"We are working towards and hoping to secure survival for both teams, so we can continue to plan for the future of the club."

Birmingham were thrashed 6-0 by league leaders Chelsea on Sunday and are ninth in the WSL, following their 11th defeat in the division this season.

WSL stars unite in support of Birmingham's players

A number of WSL team members, including Birmingham's Christie Murray, have spoken out about the grievances put forward by the Blues players, with some commenting on the club's response.

Murray tweeted: "The girls deserve better; the women's game deserves better. More needs to be done to create an elite environment moving forward."

Arsenal's Katie McCabe said: "The players, staff & fans of @BCFCWomen deserve so much more. It's 2021, things have to improve and clubs need to support their women's teams!! We stand with you."

Fran Kirby, who scored twice for Chelsea against Birmingham on Sunday, said: "It's a shame in 2021 we still have women's teams competing in the top league in England having to ask for help like this.

"We should all be given the chance to perform at the highest level we can, Birmingham Women we all stand with you."

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