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Reading withdraws women’s team from championship

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Image description, Reading FC Women finished 10th in the championship last season

Reading FC Women will play in the fifth division next season after the club withdrew from the Championship.

The club has been in financial difficulties over the past 12 months and the owners have made cuts at all levels, leading to fears that the women’s team could be disbanded altogether.

Owner Dai Yongge has put Reading up for sale, but without a “financial injection” the club says it will not be able to meet the criteria for participation in the second division of women’s football.

“The club recognises that being downgraded to Tier 5 will be a huge disappointment to everyone associated with the club,” Reading said in a statement.

“Given the club’s current financial situation, it is unfortunately not possible to make the expenditure required to achieve these levels without significant funding from the owners.”

The statement added that the Royals would not receive any “direct financial return” from investing in their women’s team for “at least five years.”

The club explored the possibility of external investment in its women’s team, which might have enabled the first team to maintain its championship status.

However, Reading stated: “Due to the complexity of separate ownership, it was not possible to operate Reading FC Women under a separate funding model.”

Reading were relegated from the Women’s Super League in 2023, finishing 10th out of 12 in the Championship last season.

Dawn Airey, Chief Executive of Women’s Super League and Championship, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Reading FC Women have decided to withdraw from the Barclays Women’s Championship.

“We have worked closely with the club throughout the season and made every effort to find a solution and prevent this outcome.”

The group not only pointed out the plight of the women’s team, but also urged all potential buyers to increase their interest in the Royals.

Reading’s relegation means that the Championship will only have eleven teams next season and there will be one relegation place.

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