Men's and women's football to be played in double-headers

Women’s football matches could be played before men’s fixtures next season in a ‘double header’, according to a Football Association official.

Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game in England, believes back-to-back matches would help boost the profile of the women’s game.

It follows the conclusion of a Women’s World Cup which saw the Lionesses continually break television audience records, attracting 11.7million viewers for their semi-final clash with eventual winners USA.

Simmons also said a number of ‘standalone’ Women’s Super League games will be played at stadiums usually reserved for men’s football.

“That will be tried as well,” Simmons told BBC’s Sportsweek when asked if WSL matches could be played before Premier League fixtures.

"Our job now is to make sure we capitalise on the momentum from the Women's World Cup and build audiences and build attendances.

"I think one of the things the World Cup has done has made our players household names, and now people can follow them back at their clubs.

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"We know there's a massive potential audience of fans coming across from the men's game and the men's clubs. We're seeing very much this 'one club ethos'.

"There's a massive chance for the game to pull those across this season with the Women's Super League and get more people coming to games and watching games on television.

"The stand-alone games in the men's stadiums, we've already seen when we've done that before a big uplift in numbers coming to the games."

England’s Lionesses captured the nation as Phil Neville’s side threatened to reach a first football World Cup final since 1966.

In the end, they fell just short with a 2-1 defeat to Jill Ellis’ USWNT.

The WSL recently announced a lucrative title sponsorship deal with Barclays, while the possibility of a takeover of the competition by the Premier League is also being explored.

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