Reading Women are set to turn semi-pro, after their eight-year Women's Super League stint came to an end.

The only non top-flight side to have a top tier women's side, Kelly Chambers' team were relegated with a whimper last season, with departing players citing a lack of investment as a root cause.

Training at Bearwood alongside the men, and becoming the first club in the country to play all of their home matches at the same ground as the men's side, the future remains uncertain for the perennial overachievers.

A club statement said: "Ten years ago, funding Reading FC Women cost the club just over £100K per year. However, alongside the growth of the women’s game, the financial commitment to meet FA requirements has also grown exponentially in recent years. Owner Mr Dai Yongge has been personally funding the Reading FC Women’s side since he took charge of the club in 2018 – investing approximately £6m across that five-year period to keep the team operating at the very highest level.

"Following defeat at home to Chelsea in our final league game of the campaign, Kelly Chambers’ side were relegated from the Women’s Super League last month, dropping into the second tier of the women’s game for the first time since 2015.

"We recognise that the women’s game is making huge progress. However, despite seeing a considerable spike in interest following the success of England’s women in the Euros last summer, an increased average gate for Reading FC Women and a boost in sponsorship and broadcast revenue earned as a result, our owner still needed to provide just under £1m to finance Reading FC Women in 2022-23. In addition, relegation to the WSL Championship will result in a significant drop in broadcast fees and central funding from the FA."

Reading Chronicle:

Club CEO, Dayong Pang, added: "Difficult but necessary financial decisions are being made across the business following the club’s relegation to League One last season and, after discussions with the FA, the decision to operate Reading FC Women on a part-time basis represents the most viable solution at the present time,” explained CEO Dayong Pang.

“We would like to acknowledge all of the hard work and unquestionable dedication to Reading Football Club of Kelly Chambers and her coaching staff, the players and all the staff. The club will now be working extremely hard to build a team to proudly represent our town in the WSL Championship in the 2023-24 campaign.

“Our owner, Mr Dai Yongge, has his full focus concentrated on our club’s rebuild. He is fully committed to consolidating our efforts into a sensible and sustainable reset, designed to bring success back to RG2.”