Brighton & Hove Albion have announced that the club has submitted an application for Tier One status for the 2018/19 season (after the FA revealed plans to restructure the highest two tiers of the women’s football pyramid in September).
In a statement they reveal their reasoning and how pleased they are to be involved in the process:
The application reinforces Albion’s desire to play at the highest-possible level, and the fully integrated approach to women’s and girls’ football at the club.
As part of the application, the club is also committed to meeting the FA’s key criteria of full-time professional players receiving a minimum of 16 hours of contact time per week, and ensuring they receive the necessary support required at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
Albion chief executive Paul Barber said, “We feel it’s important to have equal status for women’s and girls’ football at this club as far as we possibly can.
“We will be putting in a substantial extra investment to support our application, which is something we’ve spoken about at board level, and we’re more than willing to make that commitment.
“We are talking well into seven figures in terms of the amount of money that we are willing to invest in order to play at the very highest level of women’s football.”
Women’s first-team manager Hope Powell said, “This is the right thing to do, and the club is now in the position to cater for full-time athletes within the women’s game.
“As manager of this club, my ambition is to help it and these players grow, so we can compete at the very highest level.
“Our long-term aim is to become one of the top women’s sides in the country, and eventually compete on the European stage too, so this is the next logical step for us.”
Women’s chair and club director Michelle Walder, added, “Our vision for football is as an inclusive, ambitious, and safe sport for everyone.
“This exciting Tier One application clearly shows our commitment to women’s and girls’ football both on and off the pitch.”
The FA plan to confirm the clubs who have been successful with their applications for Tier One status in mid-December.
The club would also like to thank all the key stakeholders for their continuous support of our application, which include: our sponsors, Albion in the Community, the Sussex County FA, Worthing College and both the University of Brighton and University of Chichester.