Charlton Athletic Women's Football Club
(CALFC) play in the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division
. Between 2000, the year it was founded from Croydon Women's F.C., and 2007, Charlton had one of the most successful women's teams in England. After the parent club's
relegation from the Premier League
, the women's set up was controversially disbanded in the summer of 2007, causing many of its top players to depart, although later on a rescue sponsorship
package was formed allowing the women's set up to continue.
In 2000, Croydon Women's Football Club, who had previously been independent, came under control of Charlton Athletic
. The club's first silverware came in the form of the Charity Shield, which was shared with Arsenal
after the match resulted in a draw. Charlton reached the FA Cup
final in 2003 but lost 3–0 to Fulham
. The following year, Charlton finished runners-up in the Premier League just one point behind winners Arsenal, against whom they also lost the FA Cup final, though they did win the League Cup
after beating Fulham earlier in the season. In 2004–05, Charlton won both the Charity Shield (beating Arsenal) and the FA Cup (beating Everton
and once more finished runners up in the league to Arsenal. In 2006, Charlton regain the League Cup, beating Arsenal. However, in this season, and also the 2006–07 season, Charlton finished third in the league, meaning it missed the opportunity to participate in the UEFA Cup
. In May 2007, Charlton lost 4–1 in the FA Cup final, against Arsenal.
The same day as the 2007 FA Cup final, Charlton Athletic's men's team was relegated from the Premier League
. This meant that, in order to ensure the club's financial survival, a number of budget cuts would have to be enacted. On 23 June 2007
it was announced that Charlton's women's set up would form part of this. This decision was criticised by, among others, several of the club's players at the time, including Casey Stoney
and Danielle Murphy
. Charlton's chief executive, Peter Varney, defended the decision and pointed to the lack of exposure in the media and lack of funding given to the women's game from the Football Association
as reasons for undertaking the decision.
On 22 August 2007
, it was announced sponsorship had been secured by Charlton for the women's set up, allowing a senior side to once more compete under Charlton's name. Unlike the decision to close the women's team, for which Charlton received widespread criticism, this good news was barely received by the nation's media. The women's team, now controlled by the Charlton Community Trust, the organisation which operates Charlton's community programmes, has appointed former Charlton player Paul Mortimer
as the women's team's new coach. However, due to the exodus of players after the original closure of the women's set up, only one player, Kimberley Dixson, remains from the previous season, the team finished bottom of the FA Women's Premier League
relegating them to the Premier League Southern Division