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Bristol City women: ‘Very hard to compete’ in WSL, says chair

Written by on May 2, 2024

It is “very hard to compete” in the Women’s Super League against clubs backed by men’s Premier League money, says the chair of recently relegated Bristol City.

The Robins were relegated back to the Championship on Sunday after only one season in the top flight, where they have won only one of their 20 games so far.

The club was the only one in the WSL this season not affiliated with a men’s Premier League team.

“At the moment with the lack of money in the women’s game, the lack of broadcast revenue, the lack of transfer fee income, it does then become very hard to compete,” said chair Gavin Marshall.

“Even in the Championship, let alone the WSL, when you’re competing against teams that have got the Premier League money, have got much, much bigger budgets.”

Marshall said Bristol City doubled their budget this season for the women’s team and that increase came purely from owner Steve Lansdown, with no “nest egg” on offer for clubs promoted to the WSL.

Yet the club still had the youngest average age of any starting XI in the league this season and their squad was noticeably lacking an abundance of players who had previous WSL experience.

Marshall pointed to the number of injuries the team suffered this season as a factor but also said he did not believe a slightly bigger budget would have made enough of a difference.

“We felt the squad was good enough to keep us up, but [it] has looked light at times purely due to injuries,” Marshall said.

“We could have spent more money and we still would have probably had the smallest budget in the league or we might still have got relegated.

“We’ve got to take a long-term view. This is a journey for us and we didn’t want to make decisions that were going to cost us in the long-term.”

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