The second-tier Women’s Championship confirms interest in being part of NewCo
The GIST: The development of NewCo — the company devised to oversee England’s top two flights of pro women’s soccer — was nearly given a red card last week. The second-tier Women’s Championship (WC) initially rejected NewCo’s proposed governance and funding structure, but then abruptly struck a new deal. Cheers.
The context: England’s Football Association (FA), the nation’s governing body for soccer, had no plans to manage elite women’s soccer in the long term when the Women’s Super League (WSL) went pro in 2018. So last July, the FA announced that it wanted to combine the WSL and the WC into NewCo, an independent company that would operate both leagues.
- However, NewCo has struggled to secure funding ahead of its 2024 launch. Once the FA’s $31M Premier League investment request seemed unlikely, the FA offered an $18.8M loan to kickstart the company instead.
The details: Most WC clubs voted against NewCo last week due to severe limitations to their voting rights, which was the primary obstacle to approval. Later proposals offered the WC teams equal say on governance, but they would have lesser input on approving commercial deals compared to the WSL.
- But last Thursday, the WC clubs changed their tune and wrote to the FA to confirm their interest in being part of NewCo. As part of the deal, the second-tier teams will receive 25% of commercial income from the leagues combined. A Thanksgiving miracle.
Looking ahead: NewCo should allow the leagues to capitalize on the growth of women’s football in the U.K. when it launches in time for next season. Now unified, the company will look to eliminate the Saturday afternoon blackout and negotiate a new media rights deal at the end of this season. Think WSL for an NWSL price.