Lincoln Ladies have moved to clarify the facts behind their move to become Notts County Ladies next season...
Lincoln Ladies, who it was announced recently will be becoming Notts County Ladies for the start of the 2014 FAWSL, have moved to clarify some of the details behind the move and outline their vision for the future.
Following the conclusion of the latest franchise bidding process earlier this year, it was confirmed that the FAWSL would be split into two divisions from the 2014 season, with eight in the top flight and ten teams making up FAWSL 2.
It should be clarified that there were no guaranteed places in either of these two divisions at the start of the bidding process and every women’s team were able to apply for a license to form part of the new-look structure.
This is in line with the original bidding process for the FAWSL, back in 2011, which saw Lincoln Ladies jump an entire level of the league structure to win a place in the top flight.
It was always the intention of the owners of Lincoln Ladies to enter this latest bidding process as Notts County, having initially applied to rename and relocate the club back in 2012, a move that was blocked by the Football Association, as we were under license as Lincoln Ladies.
The benefits of applying for an FAWSL license as Notts County were clear to the owners of Lincoln Ladies and were further emphasised when the bidding application documents were presented to the club and outlined a number of key areas that we could only fulfill by relocating.
One of the changes to the bidding process this time around, was the need to establish a partnership with a men’s club, university, college or other similar institution.
Lincoln Ladies had no such partnership in place and whilst we currently enjoy a successful working relationship with Lincoln College and have a commercial agreement with Lincoln City, there was no scope for entering into a wider ranging partnership as required by the bidding application documents.
In contrast, at Notts County, the club had an existing link in our shared Chairman Ray Trew, who has supported Lincoln Ladies financially for over eight years and was welcoming of the idea to share the resources of both of his clubs for their mutual gain.
This move means that, for the first time, the players will have access to the kind of facilities, staffing expertise and resources that Notts County’s first team squad have available to them at Meadow Lane and this was another key driving factor in our decision to relocate.
Together with the benefits for the playing staff, there are numerous off-field advantages also, with the ladies’ side able to tap into the well-established commercial, media and marketing facilities available at Notts County.
It is the Chairman’s belief that by incorporating the ladies’ team with the men’s team, we can develop a one-club mentality that will benefit both sides and aid growth of the combined brand.
Finally, building on the unprecedented support that the club have received during our time in Lincoln was the other main factor behind our decision to expand our reach and embrace a wider audience across the East Midlands by relocating to Nottingham.
We appreciate and understand the concerns of some supporters with regards the move, however we are working closely with organisations in both Nottingham and Lincoln to ensure that following the club in our new home will be as easy and affordable as possible.
Further details on these proposals will be announced shortly, as the club continue our plans in the build-up to the 2014 season alongside what we hope will be a successful campaign this year.