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Crystal Palace Chairman Pushes for Women's Football Financial Controls

 Crystal Palace Chairman Pushes for Women's Football Financial Controls

Crystal Palace Chairman Pushes for Women's Football Financial Controls
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish (centre) in the stands ahead of the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Saturday April 1, 2023(Image-Getty) 

Crystal Palace co-owner and chairman Steve Parish emphasized the need for robust financial regulations in the top tiers of women's football in England to curb the widening gap between large and small clubs, during the Leaders sports business conference in London on Thursday.

While the Women's Super League (WSL) and the second-tier Championship enforce a salary cap system allowing clubs to allocate up to 40% of their turnover to salaries, the inclusion of the parent club often grants an advantage to the women's teams affiliated with larger men's clubs. This structural discrepancy has raised concerns that a select few clubs could dominate the sport.

Parish underscored the necessity of implementing cost controls and salary caps to ensure a level playing field, emphasizing the disparity in quality and access to talent, which can be exacerbated by unchecked spending.

Noting the dominance of WSL powerhouses such as Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City, Parish highlighted the stark point differential between the top-performing teams and the bottom contenders, citing a 47-point gap in the previous season between champions Chelsea and Reading, the bottom-placed team.

Expressing his concerns, Parish drew comparisons between the competitiveness of the men's and women's games, highlighting the need for a more balanced competition within the WSL and Championship.

Despite the focus on women's football, Parish also commended the efforts of the new Saudi Pro League, which has attracted significant investment from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF). While acknowledging potential questions regarding state aid, Parish expressed optimism for the league's success and welcomed the newfound interest in football from the region.

While some have criticized the league's financial approach as an attempt to improve the country's image in the face of human rights scrutiny, Parish emphasized the positive aspect of football's expansion and the potential benefits for clubs whose players may attract interest from the Saudi Pro League.

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