Barnsley chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad hopes the club can make dreams come true after launching their first professional women’s team.
The Sky Bet League One club will take Barnsley Ladies, recently promoted from the sixth tier of women’s football, in-house at Oakwell from next season and rebrand them as Barnsley FC.
El-Ahmad said the move was part of his vision for the Yorkshire club after he became the first Swedish chief executive in British football in July 2021.
We are excited to announce the launch of our first-ever professional women’s team!
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) May 18, 2023
He told the PA news agency: “It’s not necessarily the timing of it, it’s just the right thing to do as a club with a 136-year history.
“We’re sure there’s the talent pool in and around Barnsley and we can play a big role in helping young girls and women achieve their dream.”
Barnsley aim to be “a leading club in the promotion of women’s football” and plan for Barnsley FC to play some of their games at Oakwell.
The club said in a statement: “The professionalisation of the women’s team will see Barnsley FC invest in a number of areas, including but not limited to increased matchday support, access to sport science, training and physio teams, increased marketing and promotion and much more.”
El-Ahmad, who oversaw a restructuring of Barnsley’s board of directors just over a year ago, said: “We asked was why does Barnsley Football Club not have a women’s team?
“So we started our due diligence, speaking to the Council, Barnsley Ladies, I had a meeting with another Barnsley women’s team, a meeting with a Premier League club and the FA.
“We decided to make the decision and took Barnsley Ladies first team into our organisation as the best step forward for us as a club and hopefully for the borough. We’re proud and very excited.”
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) May 17, 2023
Barnsley hope to celebrate Thursday’s announcement by taking another big step towards promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship at the first attempt.
Michael Duff’s side play the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Bolton at Oakwell on Friday after drawing 1-1 in last Saturday’s first leg.
The Reds finished fourth in League One in Duff’s first campaign in charge, winning 26 of their fixtures during the regular season.
“Hopefully, with a bit of luck and skill and support we can win another game,” El-Ahmad added. “Then we can speak again.”
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