Reading Women demoted to the fifth tier of English football after Championship withdrawal

Reading have withdrawn from the Women’s Championship for the upcoming 2024-25 season, the club confirmed on Sunday.

A late takeover bid for the women’s arm of the financially-stricken club failed over the weekend. The 2019 FA Cup semi-finalists will now compete in the fifth tier of English women’s football.

The Football Association (FA) confirmed Reading’s demotion on Sunday after the club failed to “meet the ongoing compliance requirements needed to continue to operate in the Barclays Women’s Championship next season”.

Reading’s exit means the league will operate with 11 clubs for the 2024/25 campaign with one relegation place instead of two.



The threat to Reading Women should sound a warning to fans across game

A club statement from Reading said: “Club personnel, with support from The FA, have exhaustively explored every option, including external funding and new investment opportunities for Reading FC Women, which would allow the team to maintain their Barclays Women’s Championship status – with dialogue with various parties taking place.

“Despite best efforts, the complexities around separate ownership have meant operating Reading FC Women under a separate funding model has not been possible.

“The club understand the demotion to Tier 5 will come as a huge disappointment for all connected with the club. This solution, however, does provide the club with the opportunity to continue to operate a Women’s Football department.”

It added: “Proceeding in a lower division of the FA Women’s pyramid will allow Reading FC Women to possibly gain promotions back to the top divisions in the future – whilst also maintaining a vital grassroots pathway and opportunity for young women to continue their football aspirations through Reading FC Women.”

Reading were a top-half WSL club as recently as 2020 and reached the last four of the FA Cup in 2019. Former players include England‘s Fran Kirby and goalkeeper Mary Earps.

(Photo by George Wood – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

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