Barnsley Women’s Football Club have joined a campaign to persuade the FA to reverse their decision to cancel all leagues below the top two this season.   

Division One North of the National Women’s League has been declared ‘null and void’ with the Reds in the only promotion place with eight games remaining. The Oakwell-based club released a statement accusing the FA of discriminating against women and ‘not taking women’s football seriously’ while calling for the decision to be reversed. They have now joined a campaign along with more than 100 other clubs. 

Barnsley Women’s FC chief executive Steve Maddock said: “We’re not sure the FA will ever change their minds but we want to try. Hopefully we can just draw attention to how unfair it is and this can be the start of some changes in the game. We have made the statement and we have had tens of thousands of people looking at it on social media. Now we’re part of this campaign which is getting even more attention.

"The decision was made with absolutely no input from the clubs at all. The situation is wrong. If the third and fourth tier of men’s football can go ahead, so should the same level in women’s football. The women’s game might not be as advanced as the men’s game at that level but it was banned for a number of decades.”

While the overwhelming response has been positive, the Reds have received some criticism for complaining about being denied promotion by the coronavirus which has killed thousands of people.  Maddock said: “In today’s climate, it can seem disrespectful to talk about something like promotion. Of course we don’t think it is more important than people dying – which is the most important thing – but it still means a lot to all of us. The players and staff at our club have put in a huge amount of effort throughout the season.”