Women's Super League to hold 'double-headers' with men's matches

The England women's team after beating Norway to reach the Women's World Cup semi-final
England finished fourth at the Women's World Cup, attracting record television audiences along the way

Some Women's Super League matches will be "double-headers" with men's games next season, the Football Association's director of the professional game says.

Kelly Simmons wants to build on the "momentum" of the Women's World Cup, with 11.7 million watching England's semi-final loss to the USA on the BBC.

Double headers "will be tried" and there will be a "series" of stand-alone games at grounds that host men's teams.

She said it was all part of "trying to build an audience".

Manchester City's season-opening game against WSL debutants Manchester United in September will also be shown on television, Simmons announced on BBC Radio 5 Live.

A full fixtures list for the rest of the season will be announced on Wednesday, when the double-headers will become clear because the men's fixtures have already been announced.

"Our job now is to make sure we capitalise on the momentum from the Women's World Cup and build audiences and build attendances," she said.

"I think one of the things the World Cup has done has made our players household names, and now people can follow them back at their clubs.

"We know there's a massive potential audience of fans coming across from the men's game and the men's clubs. We're seeing very much this 'one club ethos'.

"There's a massive chance for the game to pull those across this season with the Women's Super League and get more people coming to games and watching games on television.

"The stand-alone games in the men's stadiums, we've already seen when we've done that before a big uplift in numbers coming to the games."

When asked what the FA was going to do to keep England women's manager Phil Neville, Simmons said: "He's already come out and said he's committed to helping to run the Olympic team, so this is a long-term plan.

Simmons added that these are "three hugely important years" with the Women's World Cup, Tokyo 2020 and the Women's Euro 2021, which England is hosting.

"Phil has committed to those three years, and three very special years for the women's game," she said.

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