Brighton & Hove’s Labour administration wants to work with Brighton & Hove Albion to find a home within the city’s boundaries for a purpose-built women’s football stadium.
The Albion’s top-flight women’s team currently play their games over 20 miles away from the city in Crawley, meaning both players and fans have to travel outside the city for matches.
The rise in popularity in women’s football in recent years means that having a club outside the city is now detrimental to both participation and development of the women’s game.
The proposal will be put forward as a Notice of Motion to a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday 19 October.
Leader of the Council and Labour Group, Bella Sankey, said: “The phenomenal rise of women’s football at a local and national level deserves recognition. It also requires practical support to ensure the women’s game continues to grow.
“It’s been over 100 years since the Football Association introduced a ban on the women’s game being played at the professional grounds and pitches of clubs affiliated to the FA. Despite this ban being lifted in the 1970s, we are still a long way from women’s football reaching parity.
“Look how the Albion men’s team has roared to success once we got the Falmer stadium built. It’s about time we brought the Albion women’s team home to our city too. Our motion to Full Council demonstrates our full commitment to working with the club to deliver this for the Brighton & Hove Albion women’s team and all the fans.”
Captain of the Albion’s women’s team, Vicky Losada, said: “I only joined Brighton & Hove Albion this summer, but the club and the city’s commitment to growing and supporting women’s football is something we should all be really proud. I was told that the club want to bring the team back to the city, and that would be amazing for me and my teammates to be back playing in the city we are so proud to represent.”
Head coach Melissa Phillips added: “We get a brilliant welcome and wonderful support at Crawley, but we want to be back in Brighton. Football in Brighton is at an all-time high and so is the growth of the women’s game. We know we can bring that same sense of pride to the community that our Men do. So, it is really encouraging to have the support of Brighton & Hove City Council in helping us to find a suitable location within the city to provide a permanent home for the team.”