AFC Fylde has disbanded their women's team due to the pandemic, becoming the first known senior women's team to take such measures.
In a statement the club's CEO, Jonty Castle explained that they had taken the decision, to disband the team in its current form. It is a turn around from a previous statement issued by the club where they had reassured the women's team of their commitment, writing: "AFC Fylde is wholeheartedly committed to its women’s team and will ensure it remains a part of the club.”
Castle wrote: "With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the world, I feel it is right that we offer the most transparent and clearest communication possible with regards to our current position.
"I have had in-depth discussions with Chairman, David Haythornthwaite and we recognise that as a community based football club, AFC Fylde always wanted to operate a Women’s team.
"The Women’s team, led by manager, Conrad Prendergast has been a credit to the football club and the local area. However, due to the current and ongoing fluid situation regarding the COVID-19 virus, the Chairman has had to take the tough decision to disband the Women’s team in its current format."
He added: "We wholeheartedly understand and accept this is not the news anyone wanted to give, or to receive and everyone at the club would like to offer our best wishes to all current players and staff for their future careers."
The disbanding of Fylde who were ninth in the Northern Premier Division of the National League before the season was put on hold and subsequently voided, will stoke fears about the future of women's sports following the pandemic.
Earlier in April, FIFPRO, the union representing footballers around the world, warned that the Covid-19 pandemic could pose "an almost existential threat" to the women's game.
Fylde is not the first women's team to be impacted, yesterday Reading FC was discovered to have furloughed their women's team who play in the WSL.
- Reading FC furlough women's team
- Heather Rabbatts on how we can protect funding of women's sport
- Chelsea Women's team continue to receive full support of the club