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Saudi-backed Newcastle United Women Make History in English Football.


FOT: Newcastle United

In a historical development that has changed the face of English women's football, Newcastle United Women have become the first club to operate on a full-time basis while positioned in the third tier of the football pyramid. Spearheading this revolutionary move are Newcastle United's majority stakeholders, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. This decision places the team at the forefront of the surge in women's football popularity across the globe, and particularly in the UK.

Ever since the triumphant performance of the England women's team at the UEFA Women's Euros last year, the UK has witnessed a significant upswing in female participation in the sport. While major cities like London, Liverpool, and Manchester have taken significant strides in this direction, Newcastle was slow to join the wave, until now.

In an unparalleled move, Newcastle United Women will transition to operate as a full-time entity. A decision that ensures the Lady Magpies become the first women's football club in England to make such a transition while in the third tier of the football pyramid, the FA Women’s National League. The move, which highlights the commitment of PIF and joint minority shareholders PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media Ltd., seeks to promote the club's success across all levels. The transition to full-time football comes only a year after the women's team was officially integrated into Newcastle United Football Club.

Recognizing the significance of this move, Newcastle United’s Sporting Director, Dan Ashworth, lauded the women's team's dedication and expressed his support for the move towards a professional model. This transition enables the team to focus wholly on their careers and advancing the next chapter of Newcastle United Women as fully supported professionals.

This landmark decision comes on the heels of the team's recent promotion to the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division after clinching the Division One North title in the previous season.

Newcastle United CEO, Darren Eales, praised this as a historic moment for the club and women's football on local, national, and international fronts. The decision aligns with the club's vision of sustainable success and paves the way for the recruitment of full-time players and competitive salaries for the existing team members.

With the primary goal being a spot in the Women’s Super League, head coach Becky Langley hailed the decision as a monumental moment. It not only champions the movement towards professionalism in women's football but also serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring female footballers.

The recent developments indicate the unwavering dedication to enhancing the sport for women and future generations of female footballers. The efforts taken by Newcastle United Women and their backers set an example for others to follow and promise an exciting future for women's football.

Source: Arab News


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