Sunderland Ladies demoted two divisions after losing FA appeal
Sunderland Ladies' have failed in their appeal to the Football Association and are set to play football in the third tier next season.
The Lady Black Cats were initially unsuccessful in their bid for a place in the FA Women's Championship but, with the backing of new owner Stewart Donald, launched an appeal against the decision.
But today, graphics from the FA Women's National League - the third tier of women's football - confirmed that Sunderland would form part of their structure next season.
The former Women's Super League side have effectively suffered a two-tier relegation.
A Sunderland statement read: "Sunderland AFC confirms that its appeal to the FA, regarding the decision not to award Sunderland AFC Ladies a licence to participate in The FA Women’s Championship [Tier 2] for the 2018-19 season, has been unsuccessful.
"Naturally everyone is disappointed by the decision and the club will now look at how to move forward with its commitment to women’s football.
"The club will continue in its support of women’s football and they have accepted a place within the FA Women’s National League – Northern Premier Division.
"Whilst Sunderland AFC was made aware of the decision two weeks ago, the club had been advised by the FA that any announcement was under strict embargo until the appeals process involving all clubs had been completed.
"Given the announcement today by the national league it is only right that we are able to advise our supporters of the decision."
A recent report from the BBC suggested that the appeals process was still ongoing and one appeal was still to be heard.
Earlier this summer, it was revealed Sunderland AFC Ladies had not been successful in their application for a license to play in either the FA Women’s Super League [Tier 1] or FA Women’s Championship [Tier 2].
Over the years Sunderland Ladies have produced several members of the current England squad including Jill Scott, Beth Mead, skipper Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Jordan Nobbs.