Baroness Sue Campbell admits cost controls needed in the women's game

Baroness Sue Campbell admits cost controls will need to be introduced to women’s football to ensure a fairer competition between the WSL’s top clubs and the chasing pack

  • There is a sizeable gap between the WSL’s top teams and the chasing pack 
  • Baroness Sue Campbell feels this gap can be closed by bringing in cost controls 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!

Women’s football must eventually implement cost controls to ensure a fairer competition as Baroness Sue Campbell admitted some clubs are ‘nervous’ about investing more.

The Football Association is set to handover the top two divisions – the Women’s Super League and the Championship – to a new company (NewCo) ahead of the 2024-2025 season.

A working group of 10 chief executives from both top flight and second tier clubs has been working with the FA to help shape the future of the women’s game.

More than £3million was spent by clubs across the world in this summer’s transfer window, but that figure is still dwarfed by the £61billion spent on transfers in the men’s game.

Campbell, the FA’s head of women’s football, admitted there is a gap between the best clubs in the WSL and the rest – which will only be closed by a curb on spending.

Baroness Sue Campbell (pictured) believes cost controls need to be introduced to the women’s game

Women’s Super League clubs spent over £3million in the recent summer transfer window

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‘There certainly needs to be a fair play approach,’ Campbell said.

‘What we’ve been talking about to this group of CEOs is about how do you make this game a more investable proposition?

‘Chief executives at some of the Super League clubs to lower down, they’re nervous about investing any more, because they can’t see when it stops.

‘So if you’re constantly investing and every time you invest, they go again, and then they go again, and then they go again. What makes it investable for me? So, cost control becomes really important, because it means I know what I’m investing against and now I can start to see this as an investable proposition.

‘We’ve got to grow that in people’s minds, they’ve got to understand it. We genuinely believe that there will be other clubs, even this season, who will start to push on, because some of those CEOs sit in that room have got it and they’ve already gone back and started to change things, you can feel it happening.

‘It’s starting to happen quite naturally. So I think you’ll see a real change. But what we don’t want it to be is just a few very rich clubs and to be fair to the CEOs of those clubs, they don’t want it. They’ve been really good at sitting at the table and saying “we recognise a league of four isn’t going to be sellable to broadcasters and isn’t going to be commercially attractive.”

‘So we need a league that really is vibrant, everybody gets that. The next big gap between the Championship and the National League is something I’m working with colleagues on to look at there’s another way of structuring the National League. But that’s a bit further down the line, to try and give us an easiest stepping stone to the Championship. But there’s a lot of work still to be done.’

WSL chair Dawn Airey (above) believes the division can become a billion pound league

Dawn Airey, chair of the WSL, said the rapid growth of women’s football has given confidence that the top flight can become a billion pound league.

‘One of the stated goals that we have is to make this league the first billion pound women’s league in the world, that is league revenue, and club revenue and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it,’ Airey said.

‘That’s our goal, at every level to get more finances in this business.

‘It is a very delicate ecosystem at every level and that’s one thing that I’ve learned about women’s football.’


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It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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