This week Charlton Athletic Ladies F.C. was disbanded, along with the Womens and Girls Academy and all the players and staff had their contracts terminated. This, despite playing what was to be their final match, the F.A. Womens Cup Final a couple of months ago in Nottingham vs Arsenal in front of a record crowd of 25,000, including myself.
The team had won 3 League titles, 2 League Cups and 3 F.A. Womens Cups(the first as Croydon LFC). The reason was the relegation of the men's team from the Premiership and the resulting reduction of income. Also this week it was announced that Bristol Rovers LFC and their Academy were to be discontinued, as there are already 2 Academies in Gloucstershire, including the Bristol Academy LFC and the Gloucstershire Academy. In 2000 Mohamed Al Fayed announced that Fulham LFC would be the first full time pro womens team in Europe, but after the F.A. in London reneged on its decision to start a professional women's league, it was reduced to part-time, and recently after a dissapointing season, funding stopped all together, and the team disbanded..
The Womens' Premiership League has already announced the fixtures for the 2007-8 League with 14 clubs, so the All Male Committee has to decide whether to promote a lower league team or not.
A few weeks ago I was in Norway and watched a Top League match between Team Strommen and KLEPP Stavanger, which the home team lost despite leading the league at the time. The Womens top 2 leagues are nationwide. Speaking with Torild Sandaker the manager of Team Strommen, I learned that none of the clubs pay the players and each gets about 300,000 Norwegian Kroner towards the cost of running their club from the Norwegian F.A, which is soon spent on expensive flights to the North and West of the country. One trip would eat up 40,000 NK on air fares. League attendances are in their dozens and sometimes hundreds, so there is little income from that source.
Back in the UK, Garforth Town FC , recently promoted from the Northern Counties East League to the Unibond League have announced FREE ENTRY FOR LIFE to long time loyal fans, while 1,000 free tickets will be available for fans who ask for them at a couple of loyal sponsors. Owner and coach Simon Clifford announced that the free for life promotion would stay in place even if his ambition to be the second club in Leeds (after Leeds United)to ascent to the Football League is achieved.
Far away in Bolivia the President of the Bolivian F.A. Carlos Chavez, is still angry that FIFA has banned international matches in La Paz, the capital, at 11.800ft (3,600 metres). I once got off a plane at the airport there on a flight from sea level in Arica, Chile, and was in a state of collapse after the short walk to the terminal building. FIFA had adjusted its new rule from 3,000 metres(9,800 feet) to 2,500 metres( 8,2000 feet), so Quito at 2,800 metres in Ecuador, and Bogota at 2,600 metres in Colombia are now available to stage matches.