The total prize money for the Women’s FA Cup will increase to £3m next season with a “disproportionate” amount going into the early rounds.
As reported in the Guardian on Friday, the competition will have an almost tenfold rise on the £428,915 fund available to the 417 teams competing this season.
“A disproportionate amount of this new fund will be invested into the early rounds of the competition,” the Football Association said. “This will ensure those clubs further down the pyramid really feel the benefit.”
The FA Board signed off on the increase last Thursday and it will now begin discussions on how the money is allocated. The Guardian understands this is new money and is not being taken from the men’s prize fund or another area of women’s football.
“Women’s football continues to be in a growth phase and we are always looking to make improvements and investment to drive it forward,” said the FA’s director of women’s football, Sue Campbell. “This is certainly one of the most pleasing days during my time with the organisation, because I know it means so much to so many.”
Many teams lower down the pyramid have highlighted the difficulty of taking part in the competition with prize money not covering costs. Clapton Community FC launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover their away trips on a run to the third round this season, while Lewes FC wrote to the FA in February 2019 demanding action. Last season, Chelsea collected £25,000 for their win over Arsenal in December’s delayed final, 1.4% of the £1.8m handed to the men’s winners, Leicester.
Arsenal host Championship side Coventry United in the first quarter-final on Friday. On Sunday, third-tier Ipswich play West Ham, Manchester City welcome Everton and the Cup holders, Chelsea, meet Birmingham in the other last-eight ties.