Carla Ward: Birmingham boss urges players to 'silence the noise' of off-field issues

Birmingham's players sent letter to club's board this month detailing grievances with facilities, travel, and budget restrictions; Club says it is "disappointed" that a "private" matter was made public; FA investigating whether club has breached its Women's Super League licence

Birmingham City WFC manager Carla Ward
Image: Carla Ward says the Birmingham players are working with the board to rectify the issues

Birmingham boss Carla Ward has urged her players to keep their focus on their Women's Super League survival bid amid the club's off-field issues.

The Football Association is investigating a series of complaints made by City's squad in a letter sent to the club's hierarchy, which highlighted a lack of support given to them compared to the men's team.

The complaints were reported to include players earning less than the minimum wage, delays over treatment for injured players, a lack of access to the training-ground gym and changing rooms, and travel arrangements for away fixtures.

Ward, who has previously insisted "many of the points were misrepresented" in the reports, admitted it has been a tough time for the club but said the players were working with the board to rectify the issues.

Birmingham City Women boss Carla Ward 1:03
Birmingham City Women's boss Carla Ward says the concerns of her players about their working conditions can be solved - as the club try to avoid relegation from the WSL

"It's been tough," Ward said.

"I think ultimately when it started to unravel, it was a case of really trying to work between the two, work with the board, work with the players to ensure that ultimately we can work together and kick on.

"Most importantly, number one for me is on the pitch. We've got to make sure that the players stay focused and try and silence as much noise as possible, whilst working with the board to try and rectify a few issues that have been raised."

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When asked specifically about the response from the board, Ward said: "The details will remain private, because ultimately I think that was quite important. I think we all want to move forward, we all want to try and work together.

"I think that there's a number of conversations that have been had, that are currently being had, and more conversations to be had, to try and find solutions to move forward because publicly there was a number of issues raised and I believe that we can work together to try and find a solution."

PA - Carla Ward
Image: Birmingham boss Ward says everyone at the club 'wants to move forward'

Since the letter, it has been confirmed that the women's side will play their home fixtures at St Andrew's next season if they retain their place in the Women's Super League.

Birmingham are ninth in the table, three points above the relegation zone with four games remaining, and play Coventry in the Women's FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

"This group's been an unbelievable group to work with this year, they really have, and they've wanted to reach out to the board, which they have," Ward added.

PA - Birmingham City Women on way from changing rooms
Image: Birmingham are ninth in the WSL table, three points above the relegation zone

"Ultimately we would have preferred that to stay in house but it's ended up in the public eye.

"I think very much now, they (the players) have said their piece, and the clear message from me was 'we've got a job to do, we need a couple more points'.

"My job has been to try and make sure they remain focused whilst trying to pick up their issues with the board.

"They're in good spirits, it hasn't let it dampen them. They've been fantastic on the training pitch since, so credit to them for that and hopefully whilst there's work going on in the background, we can stay focused on making sure that we get the points."

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