West Ham will seek to take the running of their ladies team in-house “at the earliest opportunity” after being accused of discrimination.
Stephen Hunt, the chairman of West Ham United Ladies FC, has alleged the Premier League club have held back funds, meaning they cannot afford a physiotherapist or proper transport facilities.
Hunt, whose team play in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, the third tier of women’s football, told the BBC: “I think West Ham have breached the underlying objectives of the FA to promote equality and grassroots football at all levels.
“Initially, what I thought was a lack of interest I now understand is a positive intent by senior people at West Ham to block the growth of West Ham Ladies.
“It’s beyond negligence, it is trying to starve us of any sort of funding.”
West Ham responded by reinforcing their dedication to the ladies team and stating a restructure was already under way.
A club spokesman said: “Supporting, nurturing and facilitating the women’s game is very important to West Ham United, a club with strong community principles and a dedication to equality in sport.
“The day-to-day management of West Ham United Ladies FC was transferred to a third party some time ago, and unfortunately it is an arrangement that has simply not worked.
“Mr Hunt has refused to align with West Ham’s principles throughout his tenure as chairman and has, on a number of occasions, threatened the club.
“The club have been working for some time on plans to take West Ham United Ladies FC ‘in-house’ and, in light of Mr Hunt’s most recent deeply concerning comments, we will now be seeking to do so at the earliest opportunity.
“We will, of course, seek to maintain the current West Ham United Ladies FC squad personnel where possible, and provide them with the best possible support and management moving forward.
“As a result of this, women’s football at West Ham United will become bigger, better and stronger, as we continue our commitment to the growth and development of the women’s game, both on and off the pitch.”
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