Women's World Cup: England's Sampson wants men's support

Mark Sampson
Mark Sampson was manager at Bristol Academy before joining England in 2013
Women's World Cup third-place play-off: England v Germany
Venue: Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Canada Date: Saturday, 4 July Kick-off: 21:00 BST Coverage: Live on BBC Three, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website

England boss Mark Sampson hopes more men's clubs will adopt a women's team after his side's World Cup run.

The Lionesses were one game from the final but missed out after losing in injury-time against Japan.

Manchester United and Southampton are the only Premier League clubs not to have a women's side.

"I hope teams have seen something that makes someone in the club stand up and say, 'Why aren't we supporting women's football?'," Sampson said.

"'Why haven't we got a women's team? Why don't we have a women's youth development section?'

"Imagine if that was the case for all 92 football league clubs. Wow, we would see a change then wouldn't we?"

England are ranked sixth in the world, and Sampson said that their run to the semi-finals in Canada had provided a "catalyst" for women's football.

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But he added: "There are more registered players in the State of New York than there are in the whole of England - and that puts into context the difficulty we are facing.

"England are going to finish in the top four at this tournament but realistically we are still not in that top tier.

"Our domestic competition is outside the top five domestic competitions in the world. An English team hasn't got to a Champions League final in eight years.

"Still not all of our players, playing in our top level, are professional players. So there is a long, long way to go. We need more players, we need better players, we need more coaches, we need better coaches, we need more supporters and more investment."

Eighteen of the Premier League's 20 clubs have women's sides.

Southampton's women's side have not been affiliated to the club since the men's team were relegated from the Premier League in 2005, while Manchester United do not have a women's team.

But both clubs say they are reviewing their position and both run girls' teams up to the age of 18.

Eight Premier League clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton, Aston Villa and Watford - have teams playing in the top two divisions of the Women's Super League.

Five others - Newcastle, Stoke, Tottenham, West Ham and West Brom - feature in the third tier Women's Premier League. Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Leicester and Swansea have women's teams further down the ladder.

Thirty-five of 72 Football League clubs have teams in playing in the the top four tiers of women's football.

Sampson, who urged supporters to turn up to the first FA Women's Cup final to be held on Wembley on 1 August, added: "We have seen the impact of clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal historically, have had on the women's game in this country.

"Without their support, we would find it very difficult to run a professional league at the moment.

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