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Women's soccer in England to be run by independent organization in bid to set new standards

Chelsea's Sam Kerr celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Women's Champions League Group D soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023. ( John Walton/PA via AP) Chelsea's Sam Kerr celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Women's Champions League Group D soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023. ( John Walton/PA via AP)
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LONDON -

Women's soccer in England will be run by an independent organization rather than the Football Association from next year in a move aimed at setting new standards in the game.

Clubs in the Women's Super League and the second-tier Women's Championship will operate under NewCo, whose first chief executive will be Nikki Doucet -- a former investment banker and Nike executive.

"I've been incredibly encouraged by the collective desire and shared ambition to make our leagues the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women's club competitions in the world," Doucet said.

The FA has run the WSL since its formation in 2010 and the Championship since 2014, but announced plans last year for an independent entity to take over the commercial activities of the women's game and give clubs greater control of their future.

The Premier League has run men's top-division soccer since 1992 and grown to become the world's most popular and richest league.

"The women's professional game is in the strongest place that it has ever been thanks to the hard work of everybody involved in its development so far," said Sue Campbell, director of women's soccer at the Football Association, "but we firmly believe that the NewCo will take it to another level entirely.

"Each of our 24 clubs and the league itself wants the Women's Super League and Women's Championship to be setting the standards for women's football around the world, and this venture into a new governing body is the next step in us achieving that ambition."

Campbell said it is a "historical moment for the women's professional game in this country."

"It is a move," she said, "that will see our clubs and players make even bigger strides both on and off the pitch."

The changes look to capitalize on the huge growth of the women's game in England, which has seen its clubs become more competitive in European competitions and the national team be one of the best in the world. England won the European Championship last year and reached the World Cup final in Australia this year, losing to Spain.

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