Premier League in ‘active talks’ with FA over support for women’s football


The Premier League remains in “active talks” with the Football Association about how it can help women’s football, but chief executive Richard Masters insists now is the wrong time to talk about a potential takeover of the Women’s Super League.

Masters said two summers ago the organization wanted to eventually manage the top division of women’s football, a notion echoed by Ian Wright immediately after the Lionesses’ stunning Euro 2022 win over Germany at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

This season, the Premier League begins a three-year commitment to invest £21m in both women’s professional football and girls’ grassroots football, but plans to take control of WSL are on hold for the time being.

“It’s a moment of glorious celebration and a moment for the players, the managers and the people on the team to have and feel great satisfaction in a job extremely well done,” Masters said of England’s success ahead of the start of the final Premier League season on Friday.

“I think it would be wrong to talk about it (WSL acquisition).

“Obviously from this season we will start funding women’s football with £21m being put into girls’ grassroots and professional football, which is split pretty much right down the middle. This is the beginning of things and we are in active discussions with the FA on how we can help more.

“There is still work to be done, as you know we have targets within the Premier League in terms of diversity goals and women’s representation.

“I think there should be more female voices at the top of our game and I’m sure that will happen over time.”

Just last week, the Premier League announced Alison Brittain will be its new chairman, but she won’t start until early 2023.

Until then, Masters are hoping that spectator behavior has improved following a series of worrying incidents at the end of last season that saw fans invade pitches and flares being regularly thrown onto the pitch.

A joint approach was agreed between the Premier League, English Football League and FA on punishing such offenses with immediate stadium bans and possible criminal prosecution, which are now an option for offenders, but it has not prevented pyrotechnics from being used in this summer is drained.

Masters added, “The three bodies have never been aligned so quickly!

“I think we’re still going to see incidents and that means people will be banned and potentially prosecuted, but we have to do those things now so it doesn’t get out of hand.

“We have a shareholders meeting at the end of September and will then review it. We’ll look at that and hope things improve almost immediately.”

A new test of owners and directors could be voted through next month’s aforementioned gathering of key Premier League club figures.

At the division’s annual general meeting in the summer, an agreement in principle was reached on the much-discussed test, but some questions still need to be clarified.

“It’s one of the things that we’ve discussed with clubs about whether there should be a human rights test,” Masters explained.

From this season we start funding women’s football with £21m going into girls’ grassroots and professional football, which is split pretty much right down the middle. That’s the beginning of things.

Premier League boss Richard Masters

“We are trying to strengthen the owner and director test and make it more transparent.

“Clubs have agreed in principle on a number of changes over the summer but there are some issues that need further work and they will surface in September so maybe we will have a new ownership and directors test in September.”

Todd Boehly faced exactly that process before buying Chelsea from Roman Abramovich in May, and Masters admitted he had “real concerns” about the future of the London team.

Former owner Abramovich put the club up for sale in March but soon afterwards faced sanctions from the UK government, which claimed to have proved its ties to Vladimir Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a deadline was set for any takeover to take place.

Masters added: “These were unique circumstances and nothing like this has happened before, so there were obviously serious concerns that the sale would not take place within the available timeframe.

“Thankfully that didn’t happen and a lot of people have been working extremely hard on the side of the club, government and the Premier League to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.”

Chelsea are one of several English sides to be affected by UEFA’s reformed Champions League from the 2024/25 season, which will see more teams and more games in Europe’s elite competition.

The result is less space on the national football calendar for tournaments like the League Cup, but Masters insist Premier League teams want to preserve the EFL-run competition.

He added: “There will be talks between the FA, the Premier League and the EFL on how we reform the calendar.

“When you talk to Premier League clubs they want the League Cup to stay because of the Wembley slot, the extra European spot. This is one of the things we need to discuss and it needs to happen now.” Premier League in ‘active talks’ with FA over support for women’s football

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