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© Olivia Clark (via Twitter)

Coventry’s liquidation shows need for Fan-led Review of women’s game

Coventry United of the Women’s Championship have announce that they are going into voluntary liquidation, halfway through their first season as a fully professional club. 

The unexpected announcement was made after Coventry’s goalkeeper Olivia Clark tweeted “To come into work and to find out that you no longer have the job that you’ve always dreamed of is heartbreaking.”

A club statement later announced: “With regret the board of directors have instructed BK Plus Limited to assist with placing the company/club into creditors voluntary liquidation.

“At this point we cannot go into detail … We would like to thank everyone for the support over the last seven years. The club will keep you updated on developments of the club’s future.”

The Football Association said: “We are liaising with all relevant parties. Our priority right now is to gain as much information as possible to ensure we can provide the right support to those associated with the club.”

The club’s decision to liquidate the team halfway through the season throws into sharp focus the recommendations of the recent Fan-led Review of football governance.

In writing on women’s football, the review concluded as one of its ten strategic recommendations that: “…it is only right that exactly 100 years after the FA banned women’s football, the future of women’s football is the subject to its own separate review to fully consider the issues. The Review therefore recommends that women’s football should have a dedicated review to consider the issues in detail and provide tailored solutions.”

The review also noted that “there is a potential for women’s football to have a powerful future, but that it is clearly at a crucial point in development. There are a number of fundamental issues that require resolution in women’s football to allow it to move forward on a sustainable footing for the future.

“Crucial issues, such as establishing the value of women’s football, its financial structure, support from the Premier League, and league structure cannot be resolved in isolation.”

That a club from the second tier can so suddenly and unexpectedly move into liquidation demonstrates the urgency with which this review is required.

The Guardian’s women’s football correspondent Suzy Wrack, in a Twitter thread commenting on the news, said: “There are serious and huge questions to be asked about the stability of the leagues and the licensing criteria that underpins them.”

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