The Millwall Lionesses are to split from Millwall FC to become an independent club, London City Lionesses.
In a statement jointly posted on the clubs’ websites this afternoon, Millwall FC said it was “disappointed” that the Lionesses’ current hierarchy had decided to go independent.
The Lionesses, who play in the Women’s Championships, will begin playing under their new name from the end of this current campaign, according to the statement.
However, the Millwall Lionesses will go on to operate through the Millwall Community Trust, “with its proud history and tradition intact.”
“Millwall have tried several times, over the course of the season, to arrive at a different outcome,” said the statement.
“The club attempted to reach an agreement whereby its name, Millwall, could continue to be used but this was rejected out of hand.
“As such, the club ultimately supported the name change, subject to certain conditions being met, in order for the team to complete the current season and so that management had ample time and opportunity to secure alternative funding.”
It added: “The Lionesses will always be a key part of Millwall Football Club.
“Their tradition and heritage is a source of immense pride and, through the Community Trust, more history can now be created.
“The club’s aim, as always, is to ensure that there is a pathway for girls and women to play football at as high a level as possible and this will continue to be the case with a new-look Millwall Lionesses.”
Millwall said it wished the London City Lionesses “the best of luck with their new venture.”
First set up in 1971, the Lionesses were an independent club during their initial years, before becoming the first women’s football team to affiliate to a professional men’s team.
The split was criticised by the Millwall Supporters’ Club committee, who resigned their position as the media and communications team for the Lionesses with immediate effect.
“We cannot support the decision of the Chairman and current club management to break away from Millwall FC and form their own club,” the committee said.
“Without the generous support of Millwall fans across the country this time last year, raising £17,459 to stop the club disbanding, there would have been no club for the current regime to own.”