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Bristol Rovers Women’s Football Club and Filton College’s Bristol Academy of Sport are pleased to announce a major partnership designed to secure and strengthen Women’s football in the southwest. The result is that from 2005/6, the Gas Girls, still playing in their distinctive quarters, will play under the name of the Bristol Academy Women’s Football Club.
The women’s game nationally, despite a high profile in the recent European Finals, is still poorly financed and fails to attract the spectators that are familiar in the men’s game. Bristol Rovers Football Club and Filton College have successfully managed to establish the Gas Girls as one of the top five sides in the Country. In order to have a competitive future against highly resourced teams such as Charlton, Arsenal, Everton and Birmingham, a new structure has been established which reduces the financial obligations of Bristol Rovers who could not continue financing the side in 2005/6.
Bristol Rovers recently approached Filton College and its successful Bristol Academy of Sport to work together to secure the future of the Gas Girls. With a combination of Club funds and the College’s own sponsorship links and exceptional sporting facilities, a clear way forward was has been established which provides a strong squad and financial security to the Women’s team.
Kevin Hamblin, Principal of Filton College states “The College has been working with Bristol Rovers Football Club for over three years at many levels and on many projects. A number of initiatives are high profile but many are unseen and have been undertaken because we share a genuine commitment with the Club. As an educational institution, we cannot directly fund an external activity such as the Women’s team, but by introducing this scheme, which includes a name change; it will mean that college supporters and sponsors will underwrite operational costs. Without such support, the Gas Girls would not be competing next year.”
The team will still be registered through Bristol Rovers and will retain the fondly used nickname ‘Gas Girls’ and distinctive kit.
Bristol Rovers will maintain their Centre of Excellence, which is due to move to the new facilities at Filton College’s new Parkway campus in September.