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Women's football proving to be match of the day

NET GAINS: Women's football is proving ever popular

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL in the United Kingdom is on the up and up. The recently concluded FA Women’s Super League 1 attendances increased more than 30 per cent on last season. The average league attendance in 2014 was 728, compared to 562 in 2013.

Newcomers Manchester City recorded the highest average league attendances of the season, at 949, after seeing 1,292 supporters through the turnstiles for their match against Chelsea on Sunday.

Liverpool were crowned champions for the second season running in a dramatic final day. The Reds were third and three points behind leaders Chelsea at the start of Sunday, but ended up lifting the league trophy after beating Bristol Academy 3-0 at home.

Goals from England trio Natasha Dowie, Lucy Bronze and a penalty from Fara Williams were enough to clinch the title.

Chelsea finished in the runners-up spot after losing 2-1 away to Manchester City, but secured themselves a UEFA Women’s Champions League spot for next season.

Birmingham finished in third place after drawing 2-2 with Notts County. Elsewhere, Arsenal recorded their first home league win of the season, beating relegated Everton 3-1.

Katie Brazier, head of women’s leagues and competitions at the FA, said: “After one of the most dramatic afternoons we’ve seen in English women’s football, it’s great to see that attendances have increased substantially this season.

“The clubs are working hard to build local fanbases, engage sports fans and their communities and it’s paying off. The quality of the league has improved since we established the FA WSL and fans are responding to that.

“Of course, there’s still a long way to go and increasing attendances is a focus for us. The potential for growth in the women’s game is huge and the fact that interest, awareness and attendances are increasing shows that we’re certainly going in the right direction.”

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