Chelsea FC Women midfielder Sophie Ingle believes the Blues are worthy winners of the 2019/20 Barclays Women’s Super League title after the season ended early due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Barclays FA Women’s Super League was paused in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before The Football Association made the decision to terminate the season last month. Following a meeting between The FA board, Emma Hayes’ side were named champions based on a points-per-game system.
The Blues were one point behind league leaders Manchester City, with one game in hand and the only team to be undefeated this season. The league title is the second piece of silverware that Ingle and her team-mates have their hands on this season, following our 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Continental Tyres League Cup final in February.
Read The FA’s statement on the season's outcome here.
'We have gone unbeaten, we drew two games and we beat the top teams, Arsenal and Man City, so I think we did deserve it in the end,’ she said.
‘It was out of our hands what the league decided. Whether they were going to void the season, give a champion or relegate, that was completely out of our hands.
‘It’s a bittersweet moment really, we’re obviously happy to win the league but we wanted to do it in the right way.’
The Welsh international is understandably unsatisfied with not being able to complete the season, but understands and agrees with the decision that was finalised by The FA last Friday.
‘It’s disappointing not to finish, everyone wanted to finish the season, but we knew there was a bigger picture and bigger things going on in the world.
‘It would have been lovely to finish all the games and win it "officially" by finishing all the games and being crowned champions in front of our fans.
‘But unfortunately there are a lot more things going on now and I think it was the right decision in the end to finish the league and not continue it, because there were too many concerns from players, staff, everyone's welfare and the money side of it is a massive thing.'
The club owner Roman Abramovich, who is extremely supportive of our women’s side, congratulated Hayes and her team for winning our third league title and Ingle reveals what his ongoing support means to the squad.
‘I’ve never been at a club where we are supported the same as the men and the Academy.
‘We met the owner in pre-season last year and it was amazing, he invited us over to Israel and got to play the Israeli national team and it was a really nice experience.
‘He is a lovely guy and very supportive of us. It’s not just about the men’s team, he wants to support the women’s team too and I think that shows in what we have at Cobham and Kingsmeadow.’
Chelsea Women’s title prize money is being donated to Refuge, a UK charity that provides specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence. Find out more here.