Birmingham are insisting they are committed to their women’s team after the players raised a series of complaints to the board.
The Football Association has opened an investigation after the Birmingham team sent a letter to the women’s Super League club hierarchy highlighting a lack of support for them compared to that given to the men’s team.
The complaints allegedly concern players earning less than the minimum wage, delays in the treatment of injured players, lack of access to the training ground gymnasium and changing rooms and travel arrangements for away matches.
In a statement released Thursday, the club said it was “disappointed” that a “private and internal matter was made public”, but largely defended their actions.
“We would like to stress that the club remains committed to supporting our women’s team,” the statement continued.
“We will be deepening the conversation internally with the aim of addressing player concerns, details of which will be kept confidential.”
Head Coach Carla Ward said: “This week we had positive discussions with the board regarding the concerns raised by the players.
“The players never intended to make the letter public and many points were misrepresented.
“We are working together to move forward and will stay in touch with the board to resolve issues 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 issued a statement earlier Thursday announcing their support for Birmingham players and confirming that they had been “in close dialogue” with senior representatives of the Birmingham squad throughout the season.
“There have been concerns about the size of the squad throughout the campaign, particularly the potential impact on the health and fitness of the players,” the statement said.
“Following injuries in January, the PFA contacted the FA ahead of a Women’s Super League match with Tottenham Hotspur.
“Due to the limited number of players available, we felt that there was a potential risk for those who were not in great shape or had injuries if the match went ahead. The match was then called off.”
The issue was raised during England’s press conference ahead of the Lionesses’ friendly against France on Friday.
Former Birmingham player Ellen White said: “Well, that’s not OK, is it? For a club of Birmingham’s stature, playing in the WSL is not acceptable for gamers to experience what they are.
“I was in Birmingham for a few years, and I have friends there. I think it’s important that this be brought to the attention, and something needs to be done, especially with them having been in the WSL pretty much from the start. It’s not normal to happen. “
WSL live on Sky Sports from season 2021/22
Sky Sports announced a three-year deal with the FA to become the main broadcaster for 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 the Sky Sports’ flagship offers.
The deal will see Sky Sports show at least 35 exclusively live matches per season and further strengthen the broadcaster’s commitment to women’s sport.