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WSL Set To Appoint First CEO

WSL Set To Appoint First CEO

The Football Association (FA) has appointed former Nike director, Nikki Doucet as a consultant to guide the future direction of the Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship.

The two divisions are moving closer to being run by a standalone company, and an appointment for the role of chief executive of the new company is said to be imminent.

Multiple sources suggest that Doucet is a leading contender for the CEO position, which will make her arguably the most powerful figure in English women’s football.

Recruitment company, Odgers Berndtson, is managing the recruitment process on behalf of the FA, where the successful candidate will lead a soon-to-be-formed new company that will run the WSL and Championship in the medium-term, while pursuing investment.

Doucet has previously held senior roles at banks, including Credit Suisse and Citigroup, as well as at Nike, where she was the Finance and Strategy Director for the sportswear giant’s North America division and General Manager of NikeWomen.

Her primary responsibility will be to drive commercial growth and attract capital investment, taking the club-level women’s game in the country to new heights.

The board’s unofficial intention has been for the CEO of the new company running the WSL and Championship to have a job description similar to that of Richard Masters, CEO of the men’s Premier League.

Last summer, a majority of WSL clubs had urged the FA to hasten the process of appointing an independent CEO with commercial experience, where clubs wanted to maximise the league’s commercial potential and believe that an experienced global business leader can attract greater commercial revenue, especially after the Lionesses’ Euro success.

The role comes at a crucial time for the future of the WSL, with a slow transition of power from the FA to a private entity expected in the next few years.

The new CEO will also have to negotiate a new TV deal, with around 15 months left on the current contract, which expires in 2024 and is valued between GBP£7 million (AUD$12.26 million) and GBP£8 million (AUD$14 million) per season.

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