Manchester City Ladies are set to make their top-flight debut, after the Women’s Super League was expanded into two tiers.
City currently play in the Premier League – the division below the WSL – but have been promoted as a result of the re-structuring.
And Niki Taylor, vice-chairperson of Manchester City Ladies FC, welcomed a ‘huge milestone’ for the club.
“We are tremendously excited about the club’s entry in to the WSL,” she said. “I speak for the whole club when I say how honoured we are to be part of this.
“The support from Manchester City Football Club to make this possible is so valuable, and we look forward to what the future has to hold.”
The expansion is part of the Football Association’s five-year plan to develop women’s football into a much larger sport.
Incoming FA chairman Greg Dyke has expressed his intention to grow the women’s game into the second largest participation sport in England.
And general secretary Alex Horne pledged to invest £3.5million into the sport over the next four years to facilitate this growth.
The FA will provide financial assistance to every team in both tiers of the new structure, awarding £70,000 to clubs in WSL1 and £25,000 in WSL2.
As part of the application process, clubs had to provide proof they will match these funds and these criteria will be continually monitored.
The 16 teams hold provisional licenses to compete on these grounds until 2018, when the funding will be re-assessed.
Brian Marwood, managing director of City Football Services, was quick to re-affirm the club’s support for women’s football, which has played a key role in this achievement.
“Manchester City is committed to the development of football in every community,” he said. “City Ladies’ entry in to the WSL is real evidence of this.
“The women’s game is continuing to grow at a pace with 28 million girls and women playing football worldwide, making it the most popular female participating team sport.
“We look forward to the continuation of that growth, and to bringing the club closer to this global fan base.”
City will compete for the top prize with reigning champions Arsenal, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy, Chelsea, Everton, Notts County (formerly Lincoln Ladies) and Liverpool from next season.
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