Women's Super League can be the best in the world, says FA director Kelly Simmons

Simmons also says every player in the league wants to support Black Lives Matter and the league will use its platform to "champion the causes of equality"; players will take a knee before WSL games

Pernille Harder captained Wolfsburg in their Champions League final defeat to Lyon, prior to sealing her move to Chelsea
Image: Pernille Harder captained Wolfsburg in their Champions League final defeat to Lyon, prior to sealing her summer move to Chelsea

An influx in big name transfers will make the Women's Super League the best in the world, according to the FA's head of professional football Kelly Simmons.

WSL clubs have been active in the transfer market this summer, attracting World Cup winners and European stars to England's top division.

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Sky Sports News' Anton Toloui rounds up all the latest transfer news from the WSL, including the huge transfer of Denmark captain Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg to Chelsea

Kelly Simmons, the FA's director of professional women's football, insists additions like Manchester City's Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, along with Chelsea signing Pernille Harder, will be good for clubs and fans alike.

"It's going to be fantastic to see top English players play alongside the likes of Rose Lavelle, one of the best players in the world", Simmons told Sky Sports News.

"It's a real statement for where the Women's Super League is, it's regarded as one of the best if not the best league in the world. That is our ambition."

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USA's Women's World Cup-winning midfielder Rose Lavelle explains why she has signed for Manchester City from OL Reign

Current WSL champions Chelsea have spent what is thought to be a world record of over £250,000 to bring in Harder to the club from Wolfsburg, while American World Cup-winning duo Lavelle and Mewis are exciting arrivals from the National Women's Soccer League.

Interest in the WSL has increased during 2020, with the FA confirming TV deals in the USA and Germany ahead of the season's kick-off this weekend.

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Manchester United Women's manager Casey Stoney is looking forward to facing the Women's Super League champions Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season on September 5

Simmons is adamant, however, bringing in high-profile players from abroad will not destabilise the opportunities of English players.

"It will only help England if they're playing against the best of the world week in, week out," she said.

"It's a balance. We want to develop world-class English players and we're working with the clubs to make that as strong as possible."

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New West Ham signing Mackenzie Arnold explains why she chose to leave Brisbane Roar for the Women's Super League

It has also been confirmed players and clubs have unanimously agreed to kneel before the start of each game in support of Black Lives Matter.

Simmons admits she is proud of women's football's stance on equality over the years and wants to see football used more to fight for social justice.

"It's important we do the work to make our league inclusive. We've seen the women's game was the first football leagues where players felt safe to come out," she added.

"We have a record of supporting diversity and we'll continue that. Every player wants to support Black Lives Matter and we want to use our platform to champion the causes of equality."

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Chloe Morgan is looking forward to beginning her career with Championship side Crystal Palace after moving from Tottenham

The season kicks off on Saturday when newly-promoted Aston Villa take on title challengers Manchester City, the first game since last season was brought to an abrupt end in February due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The stoppage of play in the women's and men's game has cost the FA an estimated £300m, with a programme of financial savings and job losses having already been announced.

Simmons says the professional game has been protected, however, and is coming back stronger than ever.

She said: "There was a lot of doom and gloom written about women's sport because of the cuts during Covid but we've seen, in the majority, clubs have protected investment or even increased investment and make some major signings.

"The FA has protected the investment in the professional women's game, we invest £7m per year into the WSL, Championship and talent pathway. That's been protected in the cuts."

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