Super League target for Rams Ladies could lift them into elite
DERBY County Ladies are looking to join the elite of women's football.
The Rams are to make an application to join the new-look FA Women's Super League, which may see them become a regular fixture on our television screens and make postponements because of icy weather a thing of the past.
Chairman Raffaele Long is currently in the process of putting together Derby's application, which has to be submitted before March 4.
The FA announced changes for the women's game in October, which will see up to 20 clubs playing in FA Women's Super League One and a new Super League Two from 2014.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Under the new plans, all matches will be filmed for television – although some teams may only see the highlights from their game – and the games will take place in the summer, rather than the winter.
Promotion and relegation will be introduced between the two divisions at the end of the 2014 season, with one club going up and one down.
All clubs will also be required to have a reserve team, which will play in the FA WSL reserve league from 2014. This league will be split into two regional divisions.
The FA are hoping to build on the success of women's football at the Olympics last year, which saw attendances at women's football matches increase dramatically.
Long said: "These are exciting times for Derby County Ladies but we have an intensive application process still to go through.
"There are 20 places available and all the current Super League clubs have been asked to re-apply for next year.
"Once we have applied, the FA then interview the interested parties and a final decision will be made in June.
"The plan is to extend the Super League first division to 10 teams from eight and then have a 10-team Super League second division.
"There would be no winter national league as the elite women's programme would take place in the summer months, so that we're not competing against the men's game.
"This would also mean that we wouldn't be competing against the men when it comes to sponsorship and financial help because they will be on their summer break.
"And right now, the draw of playing in the summer months is massively appealing!"
Long joined Derby County Ladies in 1997 and became chairman three years later.
He has seen them progress from the Midlands Combination League though to the women's national league and become the most successful, established team in the area.
This season, they signed England international Fara Williams – although it was only on a temporary basis before Williams joined Super League side Liverpool.
"I am very proud to be a part of Derby County," added Long. "I've been with the club since they were playing on the parks pitches and to now be applying for a place in the women's elite division shows how far we've come."
But there is still a lot of hard work to be done before the March deadline.
Getting help from local businesses is a must and, if they are to meet the FA criteria, discussions must take place on where the Rams' first team would play their home games in the Super League.
"We have played at Borrowash Victoria for the last couple of years and have been really pleased how things have gone down there," added Long.
"One of the needs of the criteria is that we would have to be able to provide facilities for television and camera crews because our game may well be one of the live televised fixtures. If it isn't, then it will be filmed for the highlights package.
"In terms of the ground, the FA will be looking to support the grounds where the teams play but we will also need financial help from local businesses if we are to succeed in our new venture.
"Getting financial help is very important. But then so is getting lots of businesses on board as partners, too.
"We must also be able to tick the boxes when it comes to commercial sustainability, facilities, players, support staff and youth development.
"It's a very busy but exciting time for the club."
Anyone interested in supporting the bid should contact Raffaele Long on 07710 492 936.