UPDATE: Chorley FC Women brand charge by Chorley FC to use Victory Park on matchdays as 'unsustainable midway through the season"
Chorley FC Women (CFCW) were asked to contribute £300 per game for the use of Victory Park on matchdays, according to a statement issued by Chorley FC (CFC).
The ladies’ team announced in a statement on their Social Media platforms at the weekend that they would no longer play games in the FA National Women’s League Division One at the Magpies’ iconic home after they were asked to pay for the use of the facilities from February 2020 onwards.
In a second and further statement released on Tuesday, CFCW indicated that they felt that the demand was unsustainable midway through the season.
It added: “CFCW is absolutely committed to progressing and contributing to positive outcomes across the club, but this must be sustainable and planned with a realistic timescale.”
The women have played at the home of the men’s team since July 2018 after an agreement to become part of the ‘Magpie family’ was reached.
The men and women’s clubs are run as two separate entities, but have enjoyed an affiliation.
In the initial statement released on Sunday, CFCW revealed that they will now relocate to Croston Sports Club for the remainder of the season, as they assess their future options.
It said: “Over the past 18 months, CFCW have enjoyed building some excellent relationships across CFC.
“CFCW’s committee explained to CFC that, as a self-funded club, we could not sustain the costs CFC quoted for continued use of Victory Park, but were happy to meet to consider how we could build a relationship both professionally and financially.
“However, this offer was dismissed by CFC.”
In an interview with the Lancashire Post and Chorley Guardian, chairman Ken Wright agreed that the situation was disappointing for everybody concerned, but revealed that the staging of the women’s games came at at significant cost to CFC and that they had “reached a situation where we can’t continue to carry that financial load”.
In the statement issued by CFC, the club reaffirmed it’s position that it is saddened and disappointed by the women’s decision to leave Victory Park and insist they have been wholeheartedly committed to the development of the women’s game at Victory Park.
CFC said that over the past 18 months they have at no point asked for or received any form of funding for the women’s team, whether in donations or grant funding, other than admission fees from the turnstiles during the first season, with a small income also coming from the tea bars and clubhouse.
The CFC statement said: “We have made room for CFCW at Victory Park by only playing first-team fixtures and a very limited number of development squad and youth team games, paying for separate facilities to house these teams.”
CFCW has also received substantial funding from the CFC Supporters’ Trust and this season have retained all income from the turnstiles at their games.
This season, due to success in all cup competitions, we have seen a substantial increase in games above the number budgeted.
“This was starting to put pressure on to the finances available to our groundsman and other facilities. At this point we felt our only option was to request some form of financial assistance towards the running costs.
“This was presented to the CFCW Committee in December and we informed them that we would be looking for financial input for any game after the end of January 2020.
“The details of our request were for CFCW to contribute £300 per game towards the direct costs of staging only their games at Victory Park.”
CFC said the contribution would help towards providing stewarding, First Aid cover, pitch preparation, heating and lighting, post-match food. In addition CFCW would continue to retain all the turnstile takings.
The statement added: “We were informed in January that CFCW were not in a position to provide any funds towards the cost of the games, a position that we fully understand, however the financial reality is CFC cannot afford to continue to subsidise the development of the project without outside funding.
“Everyone at Chorley FC remains committed to the promotion of the women’s game and has mooted several initiatives to further strengthen the ties between the two clubs and assist in raising much needed funds.”
“It only remains for us to wish Chorley FC Women all the best for the remainder of the season.”