Attractive ambition for first billion-pound women’s league raises questions over funding and a commitment to pyramid

The Women’s Super League and Championship are on the verge of loosening relations with the Football Association on the way to becoming fully independent, with a new company – NewCo – being launched at the end of the year to handle the running of two leagues. In many ways it is a move that makes sense; the FA is a not-for-profit body, there to govern the game, not built to run the leagues day-to-day. It is responsible for the entire footballing ecosystem in England and is unable to continually up investment in the development of the women’s game when it has other commitments such as disability football and the grassroots game.

The ambition for the WSL specifically, as stated by its chair, Dawn Airey, is to build the first billion-pound women’s league in the world. In many respects that is an attractive ambition; the women’s game has been historically underfunded and undervalued and a billion-pound league would mark a decisive break with the past. But what exactly would that look like?

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