(Reuters) - The Women's Super League (WSL) still needs funds generated by men's football to survive but it should become self-sustainable in the next 10 years, Kelly Simmons, FA director of the women's professional game, said.
The WSL began as an eight-team semi-professional league in 2011 and is now an all-professional 12-team division, with banking group Barclays coming in as title sponsors in a multi-million pound partnership running until 2022.
Last month, the BBC and Sky Sports said they had agreed a three-year deal to broadcast WSL games from the 2021-22 season but Simmons said the league needed to secure more media rights deals to be self-sufficient.
"The big change will be that the women's game should be able to generate enough revenue in 10 years to stand on its own two feet," British media quoted Simmons as saying.
"We've seen Barclays, we've seen the multi-million-pound TV rights announcements we made a couple of weeks ago, but it's not yet sustainable. It can't survive without money made through men's football.
"Over 10 years, we'll see that change, revenues will grow and ... we should be looking at a sustainable professional league in its own right and that will be a big shift.
"It's going to take a couple of media rights cycles to do that, when you look at the amount that is distributed from the (centralised deals) to the club's obviously, they're growing their own revenues."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)