(Reuters) – Some Women’s Super League (WSL) matches will be played as “double-headers” with men’s Premier League games next season to build on the momentum of the women’s World Cup, Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of women’s professional football, has said.
Double headers would be tried and there would be a series of standalone games at grounds that host men’s teams, Simmons told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.
Simmons added that Manchester City’s season-opening game against WSL debutants Manchester United in September would also be shown on television.
“Our job now is to make sure we capitalise on the momentum from the women’s World Cup and build audiences and build attendances,” Simmons said.
“I think one of the things the World Cup has done has made our players household names, and now people can follow them back at their clubs.
“We know there’s a massive potential audience of fans coming across from the men’s game and the men’s clubs. We’re seeing very much this ‘one club ethos’.”
A full fixtures list for the remainder of the season will be announced on Wednesday, when the double-headers will become clear because the men’s fixtures have already been announced.
The United States won a record-extending fourth women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday.
England, who finished fourth, were beaten by the United States in the semi-finals, a match watched by almost 12 million people in Britain.
“There’s a massive chance for the game to pull those across this season with the WSL and get more people coming to games and watching games on television,” said Simmons.
“The stand-alone games in the men’s stadiums, we’ve already seen when we’ve done that before a big uplift in numbers coming to the games.”
The Premier League has also moved a step closer to taking control of the WSL from the English FA after clubs agreed to conduct a feasibility study to explore the idea, Reuters reported last week.
(The story is refiled to remove extraneous words in eighth paragraph.)
(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)