MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — The breakaway Super League would set back the development of the women’s game in Europe, UEFA’s head of women’s soccer said Tuesday.

The 12 clubs which announced they would set up a Super League on Sunday say they have plans to launch a women’s competition “as soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition.”

Nadine Kessler, who is in charge of women’s soccer at UEFA, said the closed league would hinder efforts to build a sustainable, professional women’s game across the continent.

“Only a small proportion of players unfortunately have full-time professions and guaranteed access to top-class facilities,” she wrote in a post on Twitter. “We do not only need more clubs, but a better balance between those clubs, so that more than just a few standout players can thrive on it.”

All 12 Super League clubs have women’s teams but only two — Arsenal and Barcelona — have ever reached a Women’s Champions League final, though others like Chelsea and Manchester City are growing fast. Instead, the giants of the women’s game are clubs which have been shut out of the Super League like Lyon and Wolfsburg, Kessler’s former club.

If the Super League launches “all the great steps made in recent years, including the hardship of many players gone before, for our game to become a profession across Europe, will have less of a chance of becoming reality,” Kessler wrote.

There could also be a clash of branding. The existing top division in England is called the Women’s Super League.


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