A move to end the blackout on Saturday matches being televised at 3 pm on British TV is being considered, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The blanket ban has been in force since 1960 to protect the attendances of lower league clubs in the men’s game, but the Premier League is considering changes that could affect this rule and, consequently, the Women’s Super League.
PL clubs are keen to add an extra time slot at 6:30 pm on Sundays, which would add 50 more televised games. However, if men’s matches were to be played, it would crowd out WSL fixtures that take place at the same time.
The FA’s Director of Women’s Football Baroness Sue Campbell has said in the past that the governing body was considering playing top-flight women’s matches at 3 pm on a Saturday.
With the Premier League and the WSL both open to changing time slots, it would pave the way for the blackout being lifted.
There are ambitious plans for the growth of the WSL
In addition to moving televised fixtures to Saturday afternoons, reports in recent days have suggested that the WSL and the Championship could soon split from the FA and form a new independent company to manage the women’s game.
It is believed that the formation of ‘Newco’ will help expand the league’s commercial interests. The WSL chair Dawn Airey has previously stated the ambition of England’s top women’s league reaching revenues of £1bn or higher by the end of the decade.
That is a lofty goal but to realise its potential, it is believed that the WSL must loosen its ties with the FA, which is effectively a not-for-profit organisation. Having an independent business model set up is essential so the WSL and the Championship continue to take advantage of the increased interest in women’s football.