Birmingham City: Women's team to play at St Andrew's next season

Birmingham City's women players were united on social media this week after sending a letter to the board over concerns on conditions
Birmingham City's women players were united on social media this week after sending a letter to the board over concerns on conditions

Birmingham City Women are to leave their current Damson Park base in Solihull to play next season at St Andrew's, the home of the men's team.

The move, subject to Blues keeping their place in the Women's Super League, follows discussions between players and senior members of staff.

The women's squad sent a letter to the Birmingham City board this week complaining about conditions.

The letter addressed differences in provision for women's and men's teams.

A statement released by the club on Thursday said: "We are delighted to confirm that our women's team will be fulfilling their home fixtures at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium for the 2021-22 season, should we preserve our BFAWSL status. This has been agreed with the FA in recent weeks."

Birmingham are currently ninth in the Women's Super League, three points above the relegation zone, with four games remaining.

Blues, who have shared with National League men's side Solihull Moors since 2014, have had some fixtures at Damson Park postponed this season because of the poor condition of the surface during the weather-hit winter months.

St Andrew's has been shared by Birmingham City and Coventry City's men's teams this season but the Sky Blues announced on 10 March that they were returning to Coventry.

'It is no secret we have one of the lowest budgets'

The statement added: "We are extremely grateful to Solihull Moors for all their support over the last few years and as we continue to fulfil our home fixtures.

"We will be saying farewell at the end of the 2020-21 season."

The BBC understands that the Football Association plans to investigate the complaints made in the letter, chief of which was which that they do not have regular access to "suitable pitches".

Complaints made by the team also included access to the gym at Blues' Wast Hills training ground, changing rooms, travel to away fixtures, and issues around a lack of payments for non-contract players and others earning "less than the minimum wage".

There were also concerns over delays on treatment for injured players and claims of an inadequate squad size. The letter says players had been compelled to play when not fully fit.

The Blues statement also addressed the concerns raised.

"It is no secret we have one of the lowest budgets in the Barclay's FA Women's Super League," it said.

"Whilst the club has supported the women's set-up with large investment over recent years, this is incomparable to some of the budgets that exist in the league today.

"The women's football landscape has changed drastically with more investment and resources required year-on-year.

"We were disappointed to learn that a private and internal matter was made public over the weekend," it added.

"Whilst media reports did discuss concerns of the players, several of the points raised were factually incorrect or lacked important context.

"Some claims have been particularly damaging and some so ridiculous they don't warrant any attention.

"A letter, signed on behalf of the playing squad, was received and responded to within seven days.

"The efforts of the players have started an open dialogue between the board and the women's squad to provide clarity on these issues."

The club said they remain "committed to providing support for our women's team" and that they will "further the conversation internally in a bid to address players' concerns".