Birmingham City Women: Club reiterates commitment to women's team amid criticism

Birmingham insist they are committed to their women’s team after the players raised a series of complaints with the board.

The Football Association has opened an investigation after Birmingham’s squad sent a letter to the Women’s Super League club’s hierarchy highlighting a lack of support for them compared to that given to the men’s team.

The complaints were reported to include players earning less than the minimum wage, delays over treatment for injured players, a lack of access to the training-ground gym and changing rooms and travel arrangements for away fixtures.

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In a statement released on Thursday, the club said it was “disappointed” that a “private and internal matter was made public”, but largely defended their actions.

“We are keen to emphasise that the club remains committed to providing support for our women’s team,” the statement continued.

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“We will further the conversation internally in a bid to address players’ concerns, the details of which, will remain private.”

Head coach Carla Ward said: “This week we have held positive discussions with the board relating to the concerns raised by the players.

“It was never the intention of the players for the letter to be made public and many of the points were misrepresented.

“We are working together to move forward and will remain in communication with the board to resolve matters internally.

“We are now approaching a vital stage of the season and will focus all our efforts on winning as many games as possible to keep the club in the BFAWSL.”

The PFA released a statement earlier on Thursday announcing its support for Birmingham’s players, and confirming it has been “in close dialogue” with senior representatives from the Birmingham squad throughout the season.

“There have been concerns regarding the squad’s size throughout the campaign, particularly the potential impact on the players’ health and fitness,” the statement said.

“Following injuries in January, the PFA contacted The FA ahead of a Women’s Super League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur.

“Due to the limited number of players available, we felt there was a potential risk to those who were not fully match-fit or carrying injuries if the match went ahead. The game was subsequently cancelled.”

The issue was raised at England’s press conference ahead of the Lionesses’ friendly against France on Friday.

Former Birmingham player Ellen White said: “Well, it’s not OK, is it? For a club of Birmingham’s stature, to be playing in the WSL, it’s not OK for players to be experiencing what they are.

“I was at Birmingham for a couple of years, and I’ve got friends there. I think it’s important that it’s been brought to attention, and something needs to be done, especially with them having been in the WSL from pretty much the start. It’s not OK to be happening.”

WSL live on Sky Sports from 2021/22 season

Sky Sports has announced a three-year deal with the FA to become the primary broadcaster of the Barclays Women’s Super League from September 2021.

As one of the most competitive leagues, with some of the most famous names and teams in the world, the WSL will be one of Sky Sports’ flagship offerings.

The deal will see Sky Sports show at least 35 games exclusively live per season and further strengthens the broadcaster’s commitment to women’s sport.

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