Millwall Lionesses launch as an independent women’s team
London, Monday 13 May: Millwall Lionesses Football Club, the FA Championship women’s team, today announced that it will be breaking its ties with Millwall Football Club. On becoming independent, it will change its name to London City Lionesses.
The club has been supported through this change by the FA. The directors of Millwall Lionesses issued a statement saying 'Our interests have always been to support the club and the players in their development. The new FIFA women's strategy, and the FA women's football strategy are both demanding and require a high level of integrity and commitment. These changes are in recognition of those standards'.
The Lionesses are one of the longest standing women’s clubs in English football having been established as an independent club in 1972. The club broke new ground in being the first to affiliate with a men’s club in the mid 1980’s. Diane Culligan, who took over as Chair at the beginning of the season, commented “The Lionesses are on the verge of an exciting future. Women’s football is the fastest growing mainstream sport in the UK and with the England team in a position to challenge for this summer’s world cup, there could not be a better time for the Lionesses to take this step forward.”
The team has been managed this season by ex-Arsenal duo Pedro Martinez Losa and Chris Phillips. Pedro, who took Arsenal Women to FA Cup success will lead the Lionesses as Managing Director and Chris will continue as first team manager.
The Chair commented “The degree of professionalism required to compete at the top level in women’s football is higher than ever before. When I arrived at the club, it had narrowly avoided bankruptcy and required a complete rebuild. The majority of our players this season were straight from the academy and I am extremely proud of how they have performed. There is no getting away from the fact, however, that a club of this size needs proper support – financial and otherwise. The women’s game can no longer be treated as an afterthought.”
The club, which chose a name with global recognition in mind, will build on its 47 year heritage by taking women’s football to a new level. “The ambition for this team is unbounded” said Diane Culligan, “Financial success, personal success and playing success are interrelated and what drives success for a women’s team comes from different kind of strength than it does for a men’s team. We believe that there is a unique and different approach that the Lionesses can take to build that success.”
Whilst the club was unable to reveal the planned change during the playing season, it has already been approached by a number of high profile sponsors all of whom see the growing exposure in women’s football. “Now is the time to form relationships in this sector” commented a potential sponsor, “There is a window where sponsors can expect more coverage and exposure for their investment than in almost any other sport. A women’s team offers a window into football for brands which would not otherwise find a footing there. It is a real opportunity”
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