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Women’s football revamp thrown into doubt after rebellion | Business News

Hopes of establishing a unified commercial structure for the top two tiers of women’s football in England have been dealt a blow after Championship clubs indicated their rejection of a proposed funding and governance model.

Sky News understands that a majority of sides in the game’s second division have rejected proposals for a “newco” to take over the administration of the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship from as early as next season.

The new entity was to have been funded with a £15m loan from the Football Association or, less likely, the Premier League, as the sport’s administrators seek to capitalise on an explosion of interest from fans in recent years.

However, club sources said on Tuesday that Championship clubs had overwhelmingly decided to reject the deal, even though they had been offered a 25% share of the combined leagues’ commercial income.

Their decision was made on the basis of their discontent over the abolition of their voting rights on all but a handful of issues, according to club insiders.

They added, however, that the proposed newco model was not yet dead, with the FA continuing to hold discussions with clubs about the optimum model for the future of the women’s professional game.

The split between the top two tiers could lead the WSL to press ahead with a standalone version of the new company in order for it to formulate a comprehensive broadcast rights package ahead of a tender process expected to begin early next year.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman lifts the trophy on stage during a fan celebration to commemorate England's historic UEFA Women's EURO 2022 triumph in Trafalgar Square, London. Picture date: Monday August 1, 2022.
The England women’s success on the pitch has helped drive supporter interest in the club leagues

The WSL is led after seven games by Chelsea, with Arsenal in second place and Manchester City a further three points behind.

The division below is led by Charlton Athletic.

The vote on the future structure comes as the FA lines up Nikki Doucet as the first chief executive of the women’s professional game in England.

She is widely expected to take the role, although not until a newco is in place.

The ‘newco’ being established to oversee the WSL and the women’s Championship will run the professional game on a standalone basis.

In September, Dawn Airey, the media executive who chairs the WSL and Championship, said she had set an ambition of the WSL becoming the world’s first £1bn-revenue women’s competition within a decade.

“That isn’t a figure we just plucked from the air, it is based on a pretty decent and detailed business plan for over the course of the next 10 years,” Ms Airey told the media.

“We look at the growth of attendances, we look at the growth of engagement and broadcast, we look at the increased interest in sponsorship and marketing opportunities, and then we start being more imaginative about what attending a women’s game means. Not just watching the game, but everything that goes on around it, is there potential for clubs to think differently about their revenues?”

England’s victorious Euro 2022 campaign and its narrow defeat to Spain in last month’s Women’s World Cup final have further fuelled public interest in the sport, with attendances at record levels.

Last year, the WSL board proposed re-engaging investment bankers at Rothschild to evaluate other sources of capital to support the sport’s growth.

Bridgepoint, a private equity firm which this year approached the England and Wales Cricket Board with a proposal to buy a stake in The Hundred, approached the FA about investing in the WSL in 2020.

Private equity investment is not thought to be under active consideration at this point.

The FA declined to comment.

Man arrested after egg thrown at the King during Luton visit | UK News

A man has been arrested after an egg was thrown in the direction of the King during a walkabout in Luton.

Bedfordshire Police said a suspect in his 20s was in custody on suspicion of common assault after being detained in St George’s Square this morning.

The King was temporarily steered away from crowds outside the town hall by security staff but continued to shake hands with the public after being moved to a different area.

A protester was also arrested last month after throwing eggs at the King in York.

At the start of today’s visit, the King met representatives from the Royal British Legion, the Ghana Society, Luton Town’s football academy, veterans and cadets.

He then visited the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in the Bedfordshire town and met volunteers at the Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen Stand.

The King wore a Ramaal headscarf for the visit to the new temple and bowed in front of the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

He also rode on Luton’s cable-drawn Dart mass passenger transit system, which links the train station to the airport.

King Charles III makes the traditional namaste gesture as he speaks to volunteers and learns about the programmes they deliver for the local community during a visit to the newly built Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Luton, to meet volunteers and learn about the programmes they deliver for the local community. Picture date: Tuesday December 6, 2022.
The monarch wore a headscarf as he visited a new Sikh temple
King Charles III is shown the control room during a visit to Luton DART Parkway Station to learn about the new cable-drawn mass passenger transit system which will connect Luton Airport Parkway rail station to London Luton Airport. Picture date: Tuesday December 6, 2022.
The King in the Dart control room

His visit comes days before his son’s controversial documentary debuts on Netflix.

A new trailer for the show was released on Monday in which Harry speaks of the “dirty game” being waged against him and his wife.

Two women charged after soup thrown over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting | Ents & Arts News

Two women have been charged with criminal damage after climate change protesters threw tomato soup over Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting at the National Gallery.

Footage posted by the Just Stop Oil campaign group showed activists opening two Heinz tins and then throwing the contents over the 1888 work on Friday morning, before kneeling down in front of the masterpiece and gluing their hands to the wall beneath it.

The gallery said the incident had caused minor damage to the frame but the image, which is covered by glass, was unharmed.

The painting, which has an estimated value of £72.5m, later went back on display.

Painted in Arles in the south of France, the picture shows fifteen sunflowers standing in a yellow pot against a yellow background.

Police said two women, aged 21 and 20, would appear on Saturday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with “criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting”.

Another activist will also appear in court accused of damaging the sign outside the New Scotland Yard police headquarters in central London.

Sunflowers is the second, more famous, Van Gogh painting to be targeted by the group, with two climate activists gluing themselves to his 1889 Peach Trees in Blossom, exhibited at the Courtauld Gallery, at the end of June.

The work was also the second from the National Gallery to be selected as a target for action by the protest group, with two supporters gluing themselves to John Constable’s The Hay Wain in July.

A Just Stop Oil protester spray paints a sign outside New Scotland Yard in London. Picture date: Friday October 14, 2022.
An activist will also appear in court accused of damaging the sign outside the New Scotland Yard

Activists have also targeted a landscape painting by Horatio McCulloch, My Heart’s In The Highlands, in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, as well as a 500-year-old copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Summer in London’s Royal Academy.

Just Stop Oil has been holding protests for the last two weeks as part of a campaign of “continuous disruption”, which has also seen demonstrators block several key roads in London.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

All on Sky News, on the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.