FA announce new board to oversee the growth of women's game
Last Updated: 09/07/19 4:59pm
The Football Association has announced a new 12-strong board to oversee the growth of the Women's Super League and Championship.
There are five men and seven women on the panel, with four representatives from WSL clubs, two from the Championship and three from the FA.
Former Channel 5 boss Dawn Airey will chair the board that also includes Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and former UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl.
"This summer the Lionesses captured our imagination with their skill, passion and excellence, and we're hoping this momentum will carry on into the domestic game in the upcoming season," said Airey.
"With this in mind, the new joint board will look to support the FA further as it continues to grow participation in the women's game."
The announcement comes a day after Chelsea and Manchester City confirmed their WSL season-openers against Spurs and Manchester United, respectively, will be held at their main stadiums, with tickets for Stamford Bridge being free and City running a kids-go-free scheme at the Etihad.
It is also only a week after the biggest television audience of the year so far - 11.7m viewers - watched England's 2-1 defeat by the United States in the semi-final of the Women's World Cup.
However, translating the obvious interest in the women's game into a formula for a popular and sustainable domestic game is a challenge facing the board, but the composition of the board is a clear signal of how the clubs and FA believe this will be achieved.
The national governing body has made little secret of the fact it does not see itself as the best organisation to run the women's professional game in the long term, and the creation of the board is part of what will be a gradual transfer of authority to either the Premier League, English Football League or some new bespoke organisation.
The FA's director of the women's professional game Kelly Simmons said: "The new board is a major step forward in the development of the women's professional game.
"It has tremendous commercial and football expertise which will help transform the women's game in England, growing audiences and revenue, and enabling it to become sustainable in the long term."
The eight other members of the board are: former Lawn Tennis Association chair David Gregson, Arsenal legal counsel Svenja Geissmar, Manchester City chief operating officer Omar Berrada, Spurs director of football operations Rebecca Caplehorn, Aston Villa commercial director Nicola Ibbetson, Durham FC manager Lee Sanders, FA director of women's football Baroness Sue Campbell and chair of the FA women's board Sue Hough.