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Lincoln City the surprise name in newly formed Women's Super League

• 'We may be a small name but we're a big club'
• No place for Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Millwall

Women's Super League

Arsenal, in the red, have been named as founder members of the Women's Super League but not their opponents, Fulham. Photograph: Andrew Budd/Action Images

There will be disquiet as well as delight when the Football Association reveals the identities of the new Super League's eight founder members tomorrow. The Northern Division club OOH Lincoln will be the surprise name as one of two regional division teams while there is no place for the top-flight teams Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Millwall.

"When you are launching a new product," said Forest's chief executive, Mark Arthur, "you should surely include the biggest brands." Forest are certainly a bigger brand than their neighbours Lincoln but it will be the lower league team that steps up to the elite level next March alongside their Northern Division rivals Liverpool and the Premier League sides Arsenal, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy, Chelsea, Doncaster Belles and Everton.

"We may be a small name but we're a big club," claimed the Lincoln chairman, Geoff Adams, having met Super League membership criteria that stretched beyond playing strengths and facilities. To meet the FA's demands on sustainability and growth, the 16 bidding clubs also had to prove their business and management capabilities plus commercial and marketing expertise.

"Financially and structurally," added Adams, "we're stronger than most, if not all of the other clubs involved. And we're not going into the league to make up the numbers. We are in it to win it."

A disgruntled Arthur, whose club's City Ground will in May host the FA Cup final for the third time in four years, said: "The application and decision-making processes were not satisfactory. We've done so much for the women's game in recent years, yet we weren't even granted an interview to explain our submission."

In the Premier League yesterday Everton climbed to third place with a 5-2 win against Chelsea. Leeds beat Millwall 4-0 and Blackburn won 1-0 at Bristol.


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