Liverpool Women: Relegated side 'a token gesture'

Liverpool women huddle
Liverpool said they were "disappointed" after the Football Association board reached a majority decision to decide final positions on a points-per-game basis

Wales' most capped footballer Jess Fishlock says Liverpool's "token gesture team," has shown they "don't really care," about the women's game.

Fishlock has signed for Women's Super League (WSL) team Reading on loan from OL Reign ahead of the new season.

The WSL returns on Sunday, 6 September with Aston Villa replacing Liverpool who were relegated as their men's side easily won the Premier League.

"That says what it is, their team is a token gesture," Fishlock explained.

Last month, BBC Sport published a lengthy report into the various reasons behind Liverpool's surprise relegation.

In it, a Liverpool spokesperson told BBC Sport that the women's team "continues to be a priority for Liverpool FC".

They added: "Although we do not discuss our finances in detail, over the past five years the financial investment in LFC Women has enjoyed significant percentage increases year on year, which demonstrates the continued support and long-term strategy for the team."

However, Fishlock says it is bad for the women's game to see Liverpool relegated in the same season their men's team won the Premier League, but says the league must focus on more ambitious clubs.

"Let's be real, there is no way you should have arguably the best (men's) team in the world and yet you allow the women's team to be relegated," she told BBC Sport Wales.

"I think everyone can agree that Liverpool's women's team, up until this point, have been a token gesture.

"I hope that changes, that after relegation they (Liverpool) will look at the lack of investment and lack of respect really, but if it doesn't change then, that's fine.

"We only want teams and franchises that care enough to really invest in the women's game in the right way.

"We want to grow a team in the right way too. Liverpool don't really care, Aston Villa are doing a fantastic job… Reading have always done a great job, West Ham now, even Manchester United, who were slow on their role here, they are all investing.

"So we should focus on that, not on Liverpool saying they should be doing this or that.

"We should focus on what is good and keep pushing those team to keep investing, not dwell on the fact Liverpool don't care too much.

"Aston Villa invest, they get promoted, Liverpool don't, they get relegated. It's important to focus on that, rather than the fact some men's team just won't do it (invest in women's football)."