Sunderland send clear message over the future of the Ladies team in key supporter meeting

Sunderland have told supporters that they want Mel Copeland's side to return to the FA Women's Championship 'as quickly as possible'.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 8:00 am

The FA last week announced their intention to declare the Women's National League North null and void for the second season in succession.

It was another blow to Copeland's side, who were in a dominant position when the 2019/20 was curtailed and had begun the process of applying for a Championship licence.

Though Huddersfield Town sat top of the table this season, Sunderland remained very much in promotion contention.

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Sunderland Ladies are set to return to action this weekend
Sunderland Ladies are set to return to action this weekend

The setbacks have led fans to ponder the future of the side and in the first meeting between the club's new regime and supporters last week, Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman underlined the commitment to the future of the women's game in the city.

As it stands, Sunderland will not be able to apply to a licence for the Championship for the 2021/22 campaign, with the FA's current stance that there will be no promotion to tier two.

Notes released by the supporters' collective said that in the meeting reveal Speakman said he had been in discussions with Copeland over a three to five year strategy for growing the club.

As well as saying that the club wanted a swift return to the Championship, Speakman also said a strategy was being developed to support the women's programme and that 'the provision and use of data and analytics will also be available to the Sunderland Ladies structure so there is a consistency of approach throughout the club.'

Sunderland returned to the Academy of Light for training this week and are scheduled to return to action on Sunday when they will begin their FA Cup campaign against Sheffield.

The winners of that tie will face Burnley or Fylde away a week later, with the winner of that fixture landing a clash with Manchester United on April 18th.

Their competitive campaign will end whenever their cup run concludes, although the leagues affected by the curtailment were 'encouraged' to set up fixtures in line with the government's roadmap to resume grassroots sports.

The Women's Football Board will present their proposal for curtailment to the FA board for ratification, with consideration of further club feedback.