WSL: Hope Powell says ending season early was the right call

The FA made the correct decision by ending the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship seasons early, says Brighton manager Hope Powell.

Both competitions were brought to a premature conclusion this week to allow clubs to prepare for next season, with no matches played since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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That is despite some women’s leagues – such as those in Germany – having already returned, while women’s football is also due to restart in America in June.

Speaking on The Football Show, Powell said the situation in Germany was more conducive to a restart, and says the costs of keeping everyone safe would have been too much for English clubs.

She said: “I think the situation in Germany is a tad different to the situation in England. I believe they went into lockdown a lot earlier. So I think they were a bit ahead of us and were maybe in a better position to start the league.

“I think the protocols they want to put in place – and rightly so – are too far-reaching for women’s clubs. I think most clubs had a budget, and then to have additional costs – it just probably would have been too much for clubs to handle. In some cases, it probably would have had a knock-on effect to next season’s budget.

“So while I appreciate some clubs in Europe have gone back, I think it’s absolutely the right decision for the WSL and the Championship at this time.

“I must say there was a lot of consultation with the FA and within the clubs. I think the FA took the right approach by engaging all the clubs and seeking opinions.

“When it came down to it, it was about the safety and well-being of both staff and players. The risk was probably too much. When you add that into the finance, it just becomes unrealistic.”

Sweetman-Kirk reveals reasons behind Liverpool departure

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk said on The Football Show she left Liverpool because she was unwilling to sign a short-term contract.

The 29-year-old forward walked away from the club this month, meaning she is now a free agent in a period when WSL clubs are unsure when they will be able to play again.

But Sweetman-Kirk says she turned the chance to stay at Liverpool as she wanted the security of a long-term contract in case of injury, explaining: “One of the main motivations behind my decision was my safety.

“If the league was to continue, we were asked to sign temporary contracts to go to the end of the league if we were out of contract. For me, the feeling I had was if in that period I got injured, where does that leave me? With no medical care, without a club.

“If you are injured and it’s serious, the likelihood of me getting a club would be hard. Clubs are waiting to know where they stand and until they know that, they’re not offering contracts.

“I’m quite lucky; I think I’ve got some options. My agent’s been doing his job but we can’t really get anything signed off until the clubs know where they’re at with the FA.”

Powell back Ellis to replace Neville

Hope Powell said she thinks former USA boss Jill Ellis should replace Phil Neville as England Women’s manager.

Powell, who led England for 15 years until departing in 2013, said two-time World Cup winner Ellis is the “front runner”.

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