Millwall confirm that Lionesses will break away from their affiliation – and play under a new name next season

BY LUCAS BALL

Millwall Football Club have announced that the Millwall Lionesses have opted to become independent from the Championship side.

The Lions issued a statement today regarding the Lionesses, who finished rock bottom of the FA Women’s Championship.

They will form a new club called London City Lionesses.

A Millwall FC statement said: “The club is disappointed that the Lionesses’ current hierarchy have decided to become independent. Millwall have tried several times, over the course of the season, to arrive at a different outcome.

“The club attempted to reach an agreement whereby its name, Millwall, could continue to be used but this was rejected out of hand.

“As such, the club ultimately supported the name change, subject to certain conditions being met, in order for the team to complete the current season and so that management had ample time and opportunity to secure alternative funding.

“The Lionesses will always be a key part of Millwall Football Club. Their tradition and heritage is a source of immense pride and, through the Community Trust, more history can now be created. The club’s aim, as always, is to ensure that there is a pathway for girls and women to play football at as high a level as possible and this will continue to be the case with a new-look Millwall Lionesses.

“The club wishes London City Lionesses the best of luck in the future with their new venture.”

Millwall Lionesses were the first club to be affiliated with a men’s football club in the mid-1980s, with success following as Millwall led the way in progressing the women’s game – culminating in FA Women’s Cup wins in 1991 and 1997.

Millwall Supporters’ Club said: “It is with deep regret that the Millwall Supporters’ Club has decided to resign its role as the media & communications team for the outgoing Millwall Lionesses club management with immediate effect.

“We cannot support the decision of the chairman and current club management to break away from Millwall FC and form their own club – London City Lionesses. As Millwall fans first and foremost, the success and development of a women’s team under the Millwall umbrella will always be our priority.

“Without the glorious support of Millwall fans across the country this time last year, raising £17,459 to stop the club from disbanding, there would have been no club for the current regime to own.

“Therefore, it is an insult to hear comments from management staff, as we have this season, that insinuates Millwall fans do not support their women’s team. They took on the prestigious ownership of one of the founding clubs in women’s football and with that a responsibility to ensure its future.

“There have been options open to them to ensure that future continues but have chosen a path that serves their own interests above those of Millwall and Millwall fans.

“During the 2018-19 campaign we, the media team, have worked tirelessly to establish ourselves as one of the best media teams in the FA Women’s Championship. All as volunteers. We feel that we have lived up to our side of the bargain due to the feedback received from the FA themselves, other clubs in the division and media experts and journalists who have encountered us this season.

“Therefore, we are saddened that this hard work and dedication will no longer benefit the players that they take with them, with whom we have built strong and lasting relationships with.

“However, we will continue to support the players and staff of the Millwall Lionesses and look forward to working with the Millwall Community Trust next year in a new and exciting partnership under the umbrella of Millwall FC as it always should be.”

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