September 10 – The revamped FA Women’s Super League kicked off its two divisions this weekend with Arsenal putting five goals past Liverpool, while Manchester United Women, making their debut in the second tier, slammed 12 unanswered goals past Aston Villa.
Re-organised to provide a more professional women’s club structure with tougher club licensing criteria and a number of new teams from the men’s game entering the women’s structure for the first time, the first round of fixtures in both divisions had a very different and upmarket look.
While Arsenal took an early league lead, the big match up of the weekend was 0-0 draw played out between champions Chelsea and Manchester City.
However, it was second tier Manchester United who had recruited heavily for their debut in the professional leagues, who stole the headlines and triggered comment that they should have been put straight into the top division.
Man Utd’s goals all came in the first 68 minutes with six different players finding the net and Jess Sigsworth (pictured) scoring five.
Elsewhere in the second tier, Lewes FC, who earlier in the week became the first professional or semi-professional football club to pay its women’s team the same as its men’s team, marked their season opener with a 3-0 away win against Millwall Lionesses.
The equal pay initiative is part of the Equality FC campaign launched by the club whose men’s team play in the the Isthmian League Division One South.
Lewes FC director Jacquie Agnew saying: “We believe that there should be a level playing field for women in football.
“By committing to paying our women’s and men’s teams equally, and providing equal resource for coaching, training and facilities, we hope to spark a change across the UK that will help put an end to the excuses for why such a deep pay disparity has persisted in our sport. Together with our owners, donors and sponsors, Lewes FC can show that equal pay can be implemented to the benefit of both women and men in sport and beyond.”
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