Full-time professionalism will be introduced to the English game when the eight-team Women's Super League is launched in 2011, clubs have been told by the Football Association. The FA wants each club to pay its top four players an annual salary of £20-30,000, a demand that the new league's project leader, Sally Horrox, admitted might deter some of the prospective founder members.
"My one concern," said Horrox, "is that we might be scaring a few of the clubs off. But we are raising the bar for the women's game and we are serious about player payments and other minimum requirements."
Another of the requirements is that clubs must match the £70,000 a year that the FA is prepared to give each team for the first two years of the league's operation. "We can't afford to pay our players expenses, let alone £30,000 a year," said the Sunderland chairman, Maurice Alderson. "We run our whole club on less than half of that. I love the concept of the league and I'd love be part of it, but it's going to be very difficult."
Doncaster Belles are likewise among the current Premier League's poorer clubs, but the chairman Jonathan James said: "We definitely want in – our business plan is 90% complete and I'm very confident that we will raise the necessary finance."
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