14 February 2021
Burnley Women (l-r) - Olivia Wilson, Cara Bickett, Sarah Agger and Katie Thomas
Burnley have announced that Burnley F.C. Women and its operations will be fully integrated into the football club as part of a long-term strategy to boost women’s football and turn the team professional.
The entire Burnley F.C. Women operation, who currently compete in the third tier of women's football, will be integrated into the club with immediate effect during the current temporary suspension of the 2020/21 leagues due to Covid-19.
The move is the first step towards the long-term aim of making Burnley F.C. Women a fully professional team. Burnley F.C. Women and the wider youth operations will come under football club operations, with the aim of increasing the team’s presence, infrastructure, and investment. They had previously been an affiliate team, part of the Burnley FC in the Community charity arm.
The day-to-day running of Burnley F.C. Women will move away from Burnley F.C. in the Community and become its own entity, operated as part of the club.
“This announcement is exciting for all aspirational young footballers in Burnley," said Matt Bee, Manager of Burnley F.C. Women.
"The club are demonstrating real ambition within the women’s game and a commitment to invest in infrastructure and development over the coming seasons."
Major investment, including the creation of a Women’s Academy, is planned to move the women’s team to the next level, following unprecedented back-to-back promotions into the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.
The team will, in future, share the club’s Barnfield Training Centre facilities with their male counterparts and will seek new partners on an international scale, with the aim of improving every level of Burnley F.C. Women and its wider operations.
Plans for a Women’s Academy seek to provide a professional environment for young female players and establish Burnley as a hotbed for future talent in the women’s game.
“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," said 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 this 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.”
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