Burnley FC have announced that Burnley Women and its operations will be fully integrated into the football club, as part of a long-term strategy to boost women's football.
The entire women's team operation will be fully incorporated into the club with immediate effect, as the season faces a temporary suspension due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The move is the first step towards the long-term plan of making Burnley FC Women a professional football team. Additionally, the wider youth operations will come under the football club operations with the aim of increasing the team’s presence, infrastructure, and investment.
The current day-today running of the women's team has fallen under Burnley FC in the Community but will now become its own entity, operated as part of the club. Major investment, including the formation of a women's academy, is in the planning to help take the team to the next level, following back-to-back promotions into the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division; the third tier of women’s football.
In the future, the team will share the club’s Barnfield Training Centre facilities with the men's team.
“The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup was arguably a turning point for the women’s game, attracting new fans and inspiring men and women all over the world to see football in a new light," started Alan Pace, chairman of Burnley FC.
"The global pandemic has since had a huge impact on women’s football, but I believe it has a major role to play in the sport’s future growth, bringing in new audiences and demographics."
“Burnley F.C. is an inclusive club for all and today’s announcement signals our intent to put women’s football at the very heart of it. Over the coming seasons we will fully support and invest in our new women’s football strategy, with the ambition to gain promotion to the FA Women’s Championship within four years and ultimately become a full-time professional outfit.”
Matt Bee, Manager of Burnley FC Women, added: “Today’s announcement is exciting for all aspirational young footballers in Burnley, with the club demonstrating real ambition within the women’s game and a commitment to invest in infrastructure and development over the coming seasons. This is an exciting time for Burnley F.C. Women, and I can’t wait to work closely with Alan Pace, the ALK Capital team and Neil Hart to once again build on the fantastic success we’ve had in recent seasons when football can fully resume.”
Author: Jake Wilkin