Those familiar with women’s football will no doubt understand the gravitas Chelsea Ladies hold. Having won the FA Cup over league giants Arsenal Ladies, as well as the Women’s Super League this year, the club is a dominant force in the women’s game. When they make a move, the rest of the league listens, and for this reason the club changing their name from Chelsea Ladies to Chelsea FC Women is a significant one.
The name change also brings the club – and women’s football with it – bang up to date, positioning the women as strong, talented players, rather than ladies who casually “have a go” at a man’s sport.
What’s more, the men’s team will no longer be referred to as the “first team”. For the first time, both the men’s and women’s teams will be have equal stature within the organisation.
With the new title, Chelsea FC Women are not only putting themselves at the forefront of women’s sport, but football as a whole
Manager of the newly named Chelsea FC Women squad Emma Hayes is fully behind the move. “This name change demonstrates the club’s desire to put women’s football at the front and centre of everything we do,” she said, in a statement released by the club. “Chelsea’s commitment to the women’s game is unwavering and this decision is something I fully support.”
Team captain Gilly Flaherty added: “This is a proud day for us as a team. We’re thrilled at winning the Double this year, and hope that this change off the field will help us to continue to inspire young girls to get involved in football.” To celebrate the new name, Flaherty, a few of her Chelsea teammates and members of the Girls Football Development Centre posed for photographs produced by Dazed Digital, featuring the footballers in a casual but powerful way that sportswomen are rarely afforded.
With the new title, Chelsea FC Women are not only putting themselves at the forefront of women’s sport, but football as a whole. Ultimately, the name change is a statement – women’s football is just as good, just as exciting and just as worthy as the men’s. Maybe it’s time for the other nine super league “ladies” teams to follow suit.