Manchester United have applied for a professional women’s team. The Reds have reached out to the Football Association – which runs women’s leagues in England – with the anticipation of playing full-time football by the 2018/19 season.
#MUFC has submitted an application to the @FA to establish a professional women’s team in the second tier of the Women’s Super League.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 21, 2018
Club statement: https://t.co/fUKFvJt1v0 pic.twitter.com/0eLbaZWxiH
United have previously been criticized by not having a professional women’s team, and are the only Premier League club not to have one. England Women’s manager and former United player Phil Neville spoke earlier this year about his attempts to bring the professional women’s game to the red-half of Manchester.
Manchester United do have a long-established Girls’ Regional Talent Club that has helped grassroots women’s football grow in the locality. They say that 15 of their players have gone on to play international football this season.
If the application is successful, the Reds will play games at the club's historic training ground, The Cliff. The professional women’s leagues are due to be rebranded for next season – WSL1 becoming the Women’s Super League, while WSL2 will be called the Women’s Championship. United will enter the second tier.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke of his delight at the move.
”We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first ever professional women’s team and has submitted an application to enter WSL2,” he said.
”The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top-level football within the club.” Woodward continued to say.
Manchester United will find out if their application is successful by the end of May.