Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley has revealed ambitions to have the women’s team in the Champions League by the 2027/2028 season.
Staveley and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi are part of a Saudi Arabian-led consortium, financed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which took control of 80 percent of Newcastle last year.
Newcastle United will begin to run the women’s team in time for next season, taking the reins from the club’s independent charitable Foundation.
The team will aim to move “up the leagues” with a phased funding approach that includes becoming full-time and having a budget for transfers. The ambition is to be in the Champions League by 2027.
This would mean Newcastle United Women gaining three promotions and a top three finish in the Women’s Super League in the next five years.
“The women’s team is very important,” Staveley said. “It is an integral part of our plans to develop talent within the Club and to ensure that the women’s game and our team continue to gain increased recognition and following everywhere.
“[The vision] is very much like our ambition for the men’s team which is to see it grow and compete for the top trophies from the top division.
“This season we are hopeful that Newcastle United Women cap a successful season with promotion.”
The women’s team will play at St James Park for the first time on May 1st. They will take on Barnsley, with the club setting an ambitious objective of attracting around 30,000 spectators.
There have been concerns about the takeover of Newcastle United, largely due to the ongoing violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Although the country’s guardianship system is not as stringent as it once was, women and girls in Saudi Arabia continued to face discrimination in law and practice in relation to marriage, divorce, inheritance and employment.
Until recently, women in Saudi Arabia did not even have the right to drive, and many who campaigned for this rule to change are still in prison.
Staveley has previously rejected the claim that the takeover of Newcastle and an increased focus on the women’s team constitutes sports-washing, however.
Newcastle United Women manager Becky Langley has supported Staveley, telling the i that the ambitions for the women’s team were authentic.
“It’s not a PR thing for Amanda or Mehrdad,” she said. “It’s genuine interest, a genuine desire to create that pathway for women and girls in the city to play the game professionally.”