Oxford United Women boss on Premier League investment in women’s football

LIAM Gilbert has welcomed the Premier League’s investment in the third and fourth divisions of women’s football in England, particularly for clubs hit by the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the FA Women’s National League announced the funding, which will bring in £1million each of the next three seasons.

The strategy, titled “Empowering For Success,” focuses on eight key areas, including improving training for players, developing coaches and improving refereeing standards.

READ AGAIN: The Premier League is investing in the third and fourth divisions of women’s football

Gilbert’s Oxford United side finished second in the National League Southern Premier, the third tier of women’s football, this season.

He said: “It’s brilliant for our region and the country as a whole – however the money is spent, the fact that it’s available now will hopefully have a better impact across the country and for clubs struggling post-Covid had and had hard times.

“Hopefully they can put together business plans to be more sustainable as football clubs and we can start being our own clubs instead of relying on men’s clubs, which is still happening a fair bit.”

For United, who have been pushing for promotion to the Second Division this season, Gilbert conceded the money may not have a direct impact on the pitch in the club’s quest to become a Women’s Championship side.

“The money will go into more things off the field, it’s more about building the infrastructure of the game and the level of expertise that goes into it. For the 1 percent that we usually talk about, I don’t think it’s going to have a direct impact on us,” the U executive said.

“It could result in us getting more fans or more exposure, which is one percent in other ways.”

The exact details of how the money will be divided among the teams remain unclear and Gilbert is prepared to sit still until the club hears more from the FA.

He said: “The FA have sent out their strategic plan on how they intend to allocate funding and by seeing how that looks on an individual basis we have a better idea of ​​what will be beneficial to us and what will be habitual.

“The talks we have had with the FA say that there will be more in different directions on how to build all of women’s football.

“They have put together different packages of what each club needs at the level they are at and it just depends on what is beneficial to us.

“The millions of pounds will go to 74 clubs, they will not give out lump sums to clubs.

“They’re going to put things together that will help grow the game over the next two or three years.

“We can’t ask for funding directly, we can go and ask what will benefit us, but until they provide the next stage of the plan’s look, we await the details.”

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