Wilfried Zaha has apparently made a ‘substantial financial contribution’ to help support Crystal Palace Ladies’ amateur players after it emerged that they were having to pay their own way.
Palace were subject to a wave of consternation on Thursday when the Guardian reported the club had told their womens’ squad to raise £250 each to keep the club afloat on the eve of the new FA Womens’ Championship season.
Since then, Palace Ladies’ have issued a statement to confirm that Zaha has made a “stunning gesture” with a donation toward supporting the team’s amateur players, many of whom would have found it difficult to come up with the money, especially at such short notice.
In a sport that is too often shown through negative comment & sentiment, we’ve today been inspired by a stunning gesture from @wilfriedzaha
Demonstrating real desire to help develop football ambition within his club.Sincerest thanks to a gent who knows what it means to be @cpfc
— Crystal Palace L.F.C (@PalaceLadiesFC) 5 September 2018
Zaha himself then replied on Twitter, saying: “No problem, happy to help.”
In an accompanying statement, Palace also pointed out some inaccuracies in the aforementioned report, clarifying that not every player in their senior women’s squad had been asked to pay the £250 annual subscription fee, just the reserves.
You may have seen inaccurate media reports about the funding of Palace Ladies, so we thought it would be helpful to set the record straight.
Our senior squad currently consists of 21 players, all of whom are contracted to Palace Ladies and either receive a wage or are paid expenses.
This is made possible by the substantial financial support we receive from Crystal Palace Football Club and our principal sponsor, Utilita Energy, who are committed supporters of the women’s game and are backing Palace Ladies for the third consecutive season.
Our budget and business and marketing plans were clearly set out in our application to join the FA Women’s Championship; in common with many other clubs, we encourage players to seek personal sponsorship to help raise the club’s profile and build links with the business community, but it is not a condition of playing for Palace Ladies.
All our other teams operate on an amateur basis and, as with any grass-roots membership club, players pay an annual subscription fee. To help the development of our reserve team players, we have heavily subsidised their annual membership fees.