Wilfried Zaha makes hefty donation to support development of Crystal Palace Ladies' team
Funding an amateur football team is difficult
For a multitude of reasons, mostly capitalism, there is a lot less money in women's football than there is in the men's game. Consequently, women's teams, even those in the FA Women's Championship, encourage their players to seek out personal sponsorship to help raise their club’s profile.
Reports have been circling in the media recently of Crystal Palace Ladies FC's supposed financial struggles, and the club today released a statement to clarify the situation.
"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," it read.
"This is made possible by the substantial financial support we receive from Crystal Palace Football Club and our principal sponsor, Utilita Energy," the statement continued.
"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," as had been falsely reported.
"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," the statement explained.
It then revealed that:
"Wilf Zaha has contacted the Club to make a substantial financial contribution to support the development of our amateur players. Everyone knows what Crystal Palace means to Wilf and he wants to give the same opportunities to the next generation of aspiring players at Palace Ladies that he enjoyed when coming up through junior teams.
"We are grateful for Wilf’s support and for the ongoing support of Crystal Palace Football Club and Utilita Energy, which enables our senior team to play in the FA Women’s Championship."
This sort of generous deed is not a one-off for Zaha either; the Palace talisman donates 10% of his wages every week to charity, and has taken part in many community initiatives in the past to benefit young people growing up in the local area, where he was raised.