Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard says he has already committed to investing “several million dollars” every year as he looks to get Charlton Women promoted to the WSL.The Addicks women’s side were one of the most successful in operation but when the men’s team were relegated from the Premier League in 2007, the decision was made to cut funding to their female counterparts.
First the Charlton Athletic Community Trust and then Charlton fan Stephen King stepped in to keep the women’s team afloat after they were disbanded.But having taken control of Charlton Athletic last year, Danish-American businessman Sandgaard entered into discussions with King in November about bringing the sides together again and it was announced on Wednesday that he has agreed terms to bring the women’s team under the same ownership as the men’s.Sandgaard has ambitious plans for the women’s team and intends to ensure they have full-time status, with the intention of seeing the club secure promotion to the WSL.
“The plan we have presented to the FA shows that within two years, instead of having a team of players who are part-time, we will be moving towards the squad all being full-time,” Sandgaard told Sky Sports News.
“The first year will be more of a hybrid model but we will eventually get there and it turns out it is something the FA is used to seeing from clubs that move from part-time to full-time.
“We know that the FA is very pleased that we are moving in that direction.”I’m already committing several million dollars on an annual basis in our proposal to the FA.”
Charlton players celebrate after winning the Women’s FA Cup Final against Everton in 2005
Charlton won the Women’s FA Cup in 2005 and were twice runners-up in the competition in the first decade of the new millennium.They also won the Women’s League Cup in 2004 and 2006 and Sandgaard is keen for them to become one of the leading clubs once again.”Just over a decade ago it was just them [Charlton] and Arsenal butting heads about who’s the best club in the country,” he added.”As interest in women’s sport has increased, more and more teams have invested in women’s teams and so it’s becoming a very competitive field.”I feel it’s something we should be a part of. I believe we have made a really good investment here.”
Sandgaard has already committed ‘several million dollars’ to Charlton Women
Sandgaard admits there is still much to be done before they can regain their place in the top division and challenge for silverware once again but he is committed to the cause.”There is work to be done but the structure is already in place,” he said. “There is work to be done in maybe bringing players on board.”Skills coaching, strength and conditioning: there’s a lot of things we need to step up so we can compete at a level where we start talking about promotion.”When that’s going to happen, it’s hard to say, but it won’t happen overnight.”