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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 24 January, 2020

'Watershed moment' as English Women's top flight lands multi-million pound sponsorship

There’s good news for Irish stars across the water with Barclays coming on board as the first title sponsor of the WSL.

CHELSEA WOMEN’S MANAGER Emma Hayes says Barclays’ multi-million pound sponsorship of England’s Women’s Super League (WSL) is a watershed moment for the game.

Bristol City Women v Chelsea Ladies - Women's Super League - Stoke Gifford Stadium Chelsea were crowned champions last year. Source: Nigel French

Barclays Bank was announced as the first title sponsor of the Women’s Super League on Wednesday in a deal understood to be worth more than £10 million (€11.6 million).

The three-year partnership will start from next season, with the competition rebranded as the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

It will feature a prize-money pot of £500,000 (€578,000) after previous WSL winners were not awarded any official financial reward for lifting the title.

This comes as superb news for all involved — with a strong Irish contingent including national team captain Katie McCabe, star defenders Louise Quinn and Megan Campbell, and 2018 Senior Player of the Year Leanne Kiernan plying their trade in the English top flight for Arsenal, Manchester City and West Ham respectively, among others.

United Kingdom: Reading Women v Arsenal Women - FA Women's Super League Katie McCabe. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Hayes, whose side host Paris St Germain in the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals on Thursday, believes Barclays’ investment shows the WSL is on the rise after years in the shadow of the men’s game.

“The women’s game is at a tipping point. I have been saying for some time that this year would be the watershed moment, and today’s announcement demonstrates that we have got the pulling power to bring the very best to the league,” Hayes said.

“Tell me a league in the women’s game that can attract a sponsor like Barclays with their level of investment? It is absolutely brilliant news, and a significant step in the right direction.”

© AFP, 2019

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