The Football Association will discuss means-testing the £3million Government bail-out for women’s football to ensure it does not inadvertently hand the cash over to Premier League clubs.
Mark Bullingham, the governing body’s chief executive, says the nine Women’s Super League sides linked with the mega-rich men’s clubs must not have an unfair advantage when the cheques are handed out.
The FA will distribute a total of £28million of Government funds in the coming weeks, including £25million for the top tiers of non-league men’s football. Bullingham confirmed "we’ll be having those conversations" over whether the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea will be granted access to the support package.
"Nine of the top 12 clubs in the WSL are Premier League clubs and are obviously in a different financial state to the other three," he said. "We’ve got 13 Premier League clubs in the top two divisions so they might have different requirements. We haven’t had that conversation yet but I’m sure we will."
A total package of immediate loans amount to £241million, plus an as-yet-unallocated £60million contingency fund. The figures are dwarfed by the £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations delivered over the summer, but sports told to expect cheques yesterday expressed delight.
Nigel Huddleston, the sports minister, insisted the women’s game was a priority for the Government after it was disproportionately affected by match cancellations prompted by the first lockdown.
"I’m well aware of the state of the women’s game," the ministers told Telegraph Sport. "I spoke to Dame Sue Campbell this week on this issue and there’s an absolutely shared commitment that we as government but also (the FA) as sport’s national governing body will do everything possible to elevate the women’s game.
"We’ve made good progress over the last few years and had good momentum building up, but obviously coronavirus has come in and stalled it. So in terms of the amounts today, don’t just look at the ring-fenced areas, it will benefit women’s sport across the board."
All 11 sports in line to share an initial £240million pot from the Treasury have expressed gratitude over the handout detailed on Thursday.