Yeovil Town have released another statement confirming they were docked 10 points by the FA putting them bottom of the table with minus six points but the FA have already shown they don’t care for their fate.
The good news is they will be in the Championship next season, but you do wonder which players will still be around. Obviously, the professional structure will disappear, an Academy team, which was compulsory for FA WSL team is not in the Championship, but you would still expect a reserve team to be there next season.
What is really sad is there was no need for things to end like this for Yeovil.
I don’t think anyone would have complained if the Glovers had finished bottom of the table and been relegated on sporting merit after a season in the FA WSL. But for the FA to force them, and every other team, to switch to professional football in such a short period was always going to end up going badly.
Now, I have no doubt that next season with twelve teams backed up by men’s team money the FA WSL will be stronger in terms of quality. At the end of the day, having two full-time professional teams coming up with big budgets should produce better football than a team with limited funds. Or at least one in Manchester United. Then it is a question of Spurs, Charlton or Durham going up. if they fulfil the FA WSL criteria.
How much can Spurs really commit to their women’s team now that they have the burden of the new Stadium?
It is well documented that the men’s team have signed no players in the last two transfer windows due to their funds being diverted to the new stadium. You would think they could easily afford £250,000 to £500,00 to have a team fighting to stay up or reach mid-table safety in the WSL. £1,000,000 available would allow them to challenge for a top 4 place.
There is no doubt that next season will see a Big 4 of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea, the teams with the biggest budgets competing for the two Champions League places. In that kind of scenario, teams like Yeovil are clearly a kind of unwanted guest at the rich girls’ table.
In terms of promotion/relegation, there are many questions still unanswered.
We now know that Yeovil will be relegated. I wonder if they will be relegated because they finish bottom of the table or because they do not fulfil the FA WSL criteria? It is important to note that without that points penalty, Yeovil could have finished second from bottom and therefore been safe on the pitch but still relegated due to off the pitch finances.
We know that Man United will fulfil the criteria, so what if Spurs, Charlton or Durham cannot? It would mean only one team being promoted to the FA WSL and, in theory, no relegation. But because Yeovil will go down, it would leave the FA WSL with eleven teams and this is not what the FA want.
So will the FA open the FA WSL to a team from the third, fourth or even lower tiers, or, like United like last year, to any team that currently does not exist?
I mean it would sense for them to do it again. I am sure there are teams that would jump at the chance to go straight into the FA WSL.
We have to remember that the FA abandoned sporting merit in women’s football in 2011 when the FA WSL was created. Teams became franchises and the current state of play and the evolution over the last nine years have all been linked to the FA WSL creation.
There have been a lot of positives from it. Players are now professionals instead of being semi-pros. The overall level has also gone up so much in comparison to the old FA WPL and the Lionesses have achieved two consecutive semi-finals in international tournaments.
So the FA might claim it is working for the ‘greater good’ and clubs are simply casualties as English women’s football is going from strength to strength.
I am not sure the fans from those clubs will agree, but I don’t think fans are part of the equation as far as the FA is concerned.
I guess should England Women win the World Cup this Summer, the FA will certainly come and say ‘I told you so!’
How much consolation that is to Yeovil, however, remains to be seen.