Women's Sports: Lyon plan to buy into the NWSL

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Six-time European Champions, Olympique Lyonnais, has announced plans to purchase a franchise in the North American National Women's Soccer League.

The club's owner, Jean-Michel Aulas, has announced that there are plans in place to buy into an NWSL franchise. 

On the club's official website, Aulas explained: “Our international expansion also involves a project in the United States with the decision to take over a women’s football franchise."

It is yet to be specified whether the club will be purchasing an existing franchise, or instead, an expansion slot, however according to French newspaper L’Equipe the club have already been in talks with two NWSL clubs.

"The project is progressing well and we aim to be operational before the start of the next season, from March to April 2020," the owner stated.

Earlier this year, NWSL president Amanda Duffy announced that the league would be "looking to expand at the right timeline and making sure that [the NWSL] have the right owners.” 

Duffy explained that the league will intend to expand over the next three seasons, and with Lyon expecting to be operational by March 2020, the proposed expansion looks set to take off.

Lyon is now the second European team to express interest in joining the NWSL after Champions League finalists Barcelona announced last year that they were in talks with the North American league. 

Currently, Lyon's own women's team are dominating both the domestic and European women's football scene. As one of the most successful European female teams, they have 17 Division 1 Féminine titles as well as six-time Champions League trophies to their name. 

Alongside Lyon and Barcelona's talks with the league, the NWSL has reportedly received a huge amount of interest following the United States Women's National Team's (USWNT) success at this year's Women's World Cup.

As well as expansion interest, the league has also benefitted from vast sponsorship deals such as their Nike partnership and a new deal with ESPN that sees the regular global broadcasting of NWSL fixtures. 

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