Reading withdraw from Barclays Women’s Championship

Reading withdraw from Barclays Womens Championship
Credit: Liam Asman/Alamy Live News (Liam Asman / SPP)

Reading have confirmed their withdrawal from the Barclays Women’s Championship and will instead play in the fifth tier.

In a club statement, Reading FC said: ‘To continue to operate at Barclays Women’s Championship level, the club requires further ownership cash injection to build a squad capable of competing and to meet the revised mandatory criteria ahead of the 2024-25 season. This would have included returning to a full-time training model as well as further investments in facilities and personnel.

Whilst these requirements are in-line with the exponential growth of the women’s game – it is widely accepted that a direct financial return on annual investment is not expected for at least five years. Unfortunately, given the current economic realities of the Club, the outlay required to reach these levels are just not possible without significant owner funding.

Club personnel, with support from The FA, have exhaustively explored every option, including external funding and new investment opportunities for Reading FC Women, which would allow the team to maintain their Barclays Women’s Championship status – with dialogue with various parties taking place. Despite best efforts, the complexities around separate ownership have meant operating Reading FC Women under a separate funding model has not been possible.

The club understand the demotion to Tier 5 will come as a huge disappointment for all connected with the club. This solution, however, does provide the club with the opportunity to continue to operate a Women’s Football department.

All departments within the club have seen costs cut considerably in recent years. Whilst the Club recognises and encourages the huge rise in popularity and commercialisation of the Women’s game, it unfortunately does not have guarantees of the required finances to increase investment in to Reading FC Women.’

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