As you may be aware by now, we are huge supporters of the beautiful game and after the success of women’s football in the Olympic Games, hope was balanced against trepidation – could the profile of the sport remain as high as the game deserved? It is still early days, of course, but encouragement continues with Tuesday’s announcement of a formal tie-up between Manchester City Ladies Football Club (MCLFC) and Manchester City Football Club (MCFC).
For the uninitiated, MCLFC form part of the FA Women’s Premier League, the second tier of the sport in England behind the FA Women’s Super League. MCFC are the current reining FA Premier League Champions – confusingly enough, the top division of the men’s game.
The link, covering both sporting and commercial partnerships, means access to coaching facilities for both the Women’s and Girls’ teams and an increased marketing capability which the club could never match of its own accord. MCFC’s growing marketability in both developed and developing footballing markets offers new opportunity to MCLFC and – hopefully – an increased fan base within a highly competitive football community.
Without wishing to go too deeply into the intricacies behind it, the tie up of the two entities is not only a positive for the women’s club, as it may appear at first sight. Having been backed and bankrolled by one of the world’s wealthiest dynasties, MCFC have work to do to convince the wider football populace that their place in the game is not simply a money/status exercise. Work around the club’s community and non-footballing standing remains a huge part of the club’s remit, and the value to MCFC in PR and positive community representation generated through this arrangement will be worth a huge amount to the club.
What this therefore appears to be is one of those rare situations where everybody comes out as a winner; MCLFC gain access to commercial and sporting facilities they would never otherwise have within their grasp; MCFC earn respect for their continued work away from the Premier League pitches; the England women’s team will see more young footballers exposed to top-level training facilities and coaches; the women’s game continues its assault on the national consciousness. More of the same, please.
Image from http://www.mclfc.com (thanks!)