An ambitious crowdfunding campaign set up Michael Mogan, father of twins, aims to support the players of England second division team Coventry United LFC who were dismissed without notice two days before Christmas when the independent women’s club was placed. in voluntary liquidation by its board of directors.
Mogan was the fundraising director in Coventry’s ultimately successful bid to win the title of UK City of Culture in 2017. The following year he was awarded an MBE in the Anniversary Honor List. of the Queen for her 30 years of fundraising and her long service in the voluntary sector. . His ten-year-old daughters Alice and Hattie play for the club’s Under-10 team and have motivated him to launch a campaign “to support the wonderful women of Coventry United Ladies FC”.
Speaking to me yesterday, Mogan said to me “The ladies have so much time for the fans, they always come at the end, they always sign autographs, they make school visits. They have become real heroes for my little ones. girls who were just devastated when they found out that some of the players they loved so much were going to be out of work, so I thought we had to do something. “
Yesterday the Crowdfunder, which received backing from former Coventry City men’s team legend Micky Quinn and the local Subway restaurant’s free cookie offering for those donating, raised more than 3,600 £ ($ 4,855) on his way to meeting his goal of £ 10,000 ($ 13,492) by January 21, 2022. Mogan has pledged that every penny raised will go to the club’s players who will not receive their pay at the end of the month.
Coventry United were halfway through their first season as a professional club and sit eleventh in the FA Women’s Championship. Their last game was a 1-1 draw at home against Watford on December 18. Their next scheduled opponents Bristol City Women have already confirmed that their match on January 9, 2022 will not take place. They were also due to face Billericay Town Women in the fourth round of the FA Women’s Cup on January 30. In a statement issued on the evening of December 23, the club confirmed that “with regret, the board of directors has asked BK Plus Limited to help place the company / club into voluntary liquidation of creditors.”
The news came just eight days after the English Football Association (FA) announced that Barclays would double its investment in women’s football to £ 30million ($ 40.5million) and become the first title sponsor of the FA Women’s Championship and just six weeks after the FA. released its ambitious plans for the future of women’s football in the country. One of its main strategic goals was to maintain 24-28 fully professional women’s teams by 2030. Unfortunately, instead of expanding its top two leagues, it lost one of its established members instead.
In March, the FA also announced a major broadcast deal with Sky Sports starting this season, which promises that “a portion of the proceeds will be distributed to clubs in the second tier, the FA Women’s Championship, to help their development.” . Second tier clubs were granted ‘elite status’ from the UK government last season, meaning they can continue to train and play matches despite lockdown restrictions in the country. the time.
Speaking to me in March, an FA Women’s Championship manager admitted that “you only have a handful of clubs that can genuinely meet the demands needed off the pitch, and significantly the necessary finances. other clubs are just fighting against the tide, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hiatus unless we see more support or more investment to help clubs survive.
Part of the second tier of English women’s football since their promotion from the National League South in 2019, it was Coventry United’s third consecutive season in the FA Women’s Championship. Founded in 2013 as Coventry City Ladies, they merged with Coventry United in July 2015 and were one of only three teams remaining in the top two divisions existing independently of a men’s club.
No further information was released by the club in the week following its liquidation, as accountant BK Plus disclosed these details in a press release the following day. “On December 21, 2021, the accounting firm BK Plus was tasked with assisting in the formal process of voluntary liquidation of Coventry United Ladies Limited (“ the Company ”). It is expected that the Company will enter into liquidation on January 4, 2022 . “
The news came almost exactly one year to the day after the three owners of the Coventry-based Mirius business bought a 49% stake in the club with one of them, Darren Langdon, claiming that “Working together we aim to create a real force to be reckoned with in women’s football, and will build a lasting and successful model that all of Coventry can celebrate and feel a part of. However, by November 2021 everything had changed, “due to the current global impact of Brexit and the financial impact of COVID-19, they could no longer invest any money in the company.”
The FA asked BK Plus to find a new buyer. They announced the club’s sale in early December, but despite some interest, no offers were received. BK Plus Insolvency Practitioner Richard Tonks admitted that “the company suffered financially from COVID when games were played behind closed doors and potential sponsors were hard to attract. Accordingly, the operational activities of the Company are to cease with immediate effect, which includes the termination of employment contracts for all of the Company’s 30 employees (including gaming staff). “
In one social media posting, club captain Katie Wilkinson revealed “we had absolutely no indication the club was in such financial trouble and it’s so cruel that at what should be one of the happiest times of the year. year our livelihood, our financial security and our club was taken from us just 2 days before Christmas. “
“What’s hard to swallow right now is that I know many of my teammates have sacrificed jobs, careers, homes, families and more to become a full-time professional footballer for Coventry United and j ‘hope and pray that the FA, PFA, clubs, players and fans within our amazing football community can come together and help my teammates find new clubs to play the game we all love. ”
In response to the situation at Coventry United, a fan-led coalition calling itself the FA Women’s Championship Fan Collective is trying to bring together supporters from the twelve second tier clubs to demand reform and guarantees for its players and teams. In its manifesto, they campaign for the England players ‘union, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), to accept the membership of contracted players outside the elite and for the cash prizes awarded by the FA in the Men’s and Women’s FA Cup to be equalized.
In a statement, the Football Association said: “The FA is aware of the situation at Coventry United and we are liaising with all parties concerned. Our priority right now is to get as much information as possible to make sure that we can provide the right support to people associated with the club. “