Sunderland Ladies’ double demotion: the questions Baroness Sue Campbell won’t answer

Photo courtesy Sunderland AFC Ladies

Forgive Salut! Sunderland for being appalled at the double demotion of SAFC Ladies, guilty of no wrongdoing, and thus taking another dig at the FA, SAFC and maybe the SAFC Ladies management itself. Since no one has properly explained, no one knows who is most to blame …

As everyone who cares will know, Sunderland AFC Ladies have been handed what amounts to a double demotion, excluded from the Women’s Super League and its second tier despite finishing seventh top at the highest level of the English game.

I regard this as a scandalous affront to natural justice. The FA thinks it is somehow helping “women’s football to grow and prosper in the future”, though it will not explain – specifically – how such grotesquely unjust an exclusion of a successful team fits into this noble ideal.

Baroness Sue Campbell is the FA’s head of the women’s game. She keeps a straight face when claiming the process of deciding who may be included in the WSL, and who must be excluded, is fair and rewards “clubs willing to up their game and commit to the plans”.

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One woman’s view: playing for Arsenal, Brentford and QPR; supporting Liverpool and Sunderland

Nathalie is second from the left
Nathalie is second from the right

It’s not just Stephanie Roache with that goal, the one that won her second place in the 2014 Fifa Puskás Award and an invitation to Barack Obama’s White House St Patrick’s party. Nor is just the exceptional progress of Sunderland Ladies, against unjust official odds, to the Women’s Super League top flight.

Despite the curmudgeons who still cannot see merit in women’s football, the game is on the rise. And when you’ve seen it played well, and also seen Sunderland at Southampton, you begin to see why public perceptions have begun to change. Monsieur Salut’s daughter Nathalie Randall may not play for Sunderland or with Stephanie but her team, Old Actonians has just risen to Women’s Premier League status (SAFC Ladies are in the WSL now but were in the WPL until not long ago). Here’s her story …

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Sunderland’s Lasses soak up the glory

Jake says "Ha'way The Lasses"!
Jake says “Ha’way The Lasses”!

Never let anyone tell you
women’s football lacks the passion of the men’s game.

Just take a look at the stream of messages and photographs at Twitter and elsewhere marking the fabulous achievement of SAFC Ladies in taking the Women’s Super League 2 title at the first attempt, having previously and unpardonably been excluded when the WSL was formed.

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