West Ham United have made big strides in addressing recent accusations of gender discrimination and actively starving their Ladies club of facilities and resources after now taking control of the women's team,previouslyrun as a separate entity for a quarter of a century.
The Hammers were blasted by Stephen Hunt, chairman of West Ham United Ladies, a little over a week ago for apparent 'undermining' the FA's objectives to promote equality and failure to 'act like a 21st century club' with regard to female players.
A statement issued late on Monday night has now confirmed that the club has taken control of the women's team. It follows the example of Manchester City (pictured below), who made the women's team an official part of the club in 2012 and have been at the leading edge of women's football in England since.
"West Ham United are delighted to announce that, in agreement with the current Ladies' committee, the club have this evening been successful in bringing West Ham United Ladies into the West Ham family," the club's proclamation read.
West Ham say "the the teams will now work in unison to ensure the delivery of these and help maintain their continued progression", while a Ladies academy with four teams ranging from Under-10 to Under-16 age groups will be set up.
Club vice-chairman Karren Brady told WHUFC.com, "West Ham United Ladies have operated separately to the club for 25 years, and today marks the next step in building the future of women's football at West Ham United.
"The addition of the Ladies into the West Ham family is the solution my Board and I have long sought. Not only does it secure the long term future of the Ladies' side, but also guarantees that current and future supporters, players and staff of the Ladies' team will form an integral part of the club's bright future as we move forward.
"From the top down, West Ham United is passionately committed to equality, particularly for women, and that is precisely why women's football is such a high priority on our agenda.
"We are delighted to be able to support West Ham United Ladies' continued progression, and look forward to building the momentum that will see the team become an institution that our club and our supporters can be proud of."
West Ham Ladies currently compete in the Southern Division of the FA Women's Premier League system, with the next stage to earn entry intothe two-tieredWomen's Super League to test themselves against the best teams in the country
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