The Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship Clubs have unanimously agreed to proceed with the formation of a new organisation (NewCo) to lead the women’s professional game into a new era.
NewCo, an independent body where each Club that participates in the top two tiers of women’s football acts as a shareholder, will be in place to run the women’s professional game in England.
Nikki Doucet has been appointed as CEO of the NewCo and will start her role with immediate effect.
All 24 clubs will now begin proceedings to move into a new governance structure ahead of the 2024/25 season.
The outstanding candidate from a global list of applicants, Nikki will become the first CEO of the top two women’s football professional leagues in England.
With over 20 years of experience in the sports and financial sectors, she has extensive knowledge across business management, commercial, marketing and product management, and has a proven track record of strategically leading and developing teams at the highest level, including as General Manager of Nike Women UK & Ireland and with Citigroup Global Markets.
Nikki’s new role will be to manage and oversee all aspects of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, including the transition of both leagues to a NewCo before the start of the 2024/25 domestic season.
Chair of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship Board, Dawn Airey, said: “We are delighted to have the unanimous backing of our 24 clubs regarding the NewCo proposal, and also to have appointed Nikki.
“Nikki is an exceptional talent, and we are thrilled that she is joining us. She’s a world-class leader who combines extraordinary marketing skills with a background in finance and a deep love of sport – particularly women’s football.
“She is a visionary who passionately believes in the power of women’s football to help create positive change and a more equitable society – whilst also recognising the immense opportunity the game has to realise its financial potential.
“We look forward to her seminal contribution to the leagues, which have the eyes of the world on them.”
Baroness Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football for The Football Association, said: “The women’s professional game is in the strongest place that it has ever been thanks to the hard work of everybody involved in its development so far, but we firmly believe that the NewCo will take it to another level entirely.
“Each of our 24 clubs and the league itself wants the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship to be setting the standards for women’s football around the world, and this venture into a new governing body is the next step in us achieving that ambition.
“Nikki is a very exciting appointment as CEO – her passion, determination, experience, and acumen, coupled with the unified approach of our clubs, is the perfect combination as we look to the future with the NewCo.
“This is a historical moment for the women’s professional game in this country, and it is a move that will see our clubs and players make even bigger strides both on and off the pitch.”
Vinai Venkatesham, CEO of Arsenal Football Club and Chair of the CEO Working Group which led on developing the proposal for NewCo, said: “This is a pivotal moment in the history of the women’s professional game, as we look to work together to build the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women’s football club competition in the world.
“Setting up NewCo provides the opportunity to accelerate the sustainable growth of the women’s game and will not only support the development of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship but the entirety of the women’s football pyramid.
“It has been a constructive and collective effort to get to this stage, and Nikki’s appointment encapsulates the ambition we have for NewCo. With her vision for women’s football, the future is incredibly bright.”
New CEO of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, Nikki Doucet, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for women’s football – and I’m delighted to be appointed as the new CEO of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship.
“Having already worked with the clubs and The FA for a number of months, I’ve been incredibly encouraged by the collective desire and shared ambition to make our leagues the most distinctive, competitive and entertaining women’s club competitions in the world.
“It’s a great privilege to help lead the next phase of this inspirational journey, which has been started by The FA through passion, investment and a steadfast commitment to the evolution of women’s football.
“Together, we now have an opportunity to see further transformational growth across our leagues by maximising the unique qualities, values and principles that we see in the women’s game, and keeping the players and the fans at the heart of everything we do.”