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Charlton future in safe hands
 Women's Football News 9 May 2008
Peter Varney has expressed confidence that the future of the Charlton Athletic women's team is in safe hands despite their relegation from the top flight this season.
However, this was exactly what was expected, argues the departing chief executive, who points to great progress being made in the set-up's youth ranks.
"The women's team has been relegated but it's actually quite healthy," he said. "The first team understandably always gets the headlines, but in the academy and the centre of excellence below that, we are performing well against the Arsenals and the Chelseas, so it looks good for the future."
Only three members of last season's squad that reached the FA Women's Cup Final remained at the club following the extensive summer upheaval that saw funding dramatically reduced and responsibility for the female set-up switch from the football club to the Charlton Community Trust.
And while Charlton have been relegated, there have plenty of encouraging signs in the second half of the season.
Indeed, by starting in the Southern Division in August, the Addicks are in a better position than had they gone out of existence and had to resume at the bottom tier of the women's game.
Added Varney: "The first team left en masse when we withdrew the wage structure and went to other clubs, so it was always going to be a difficult situation to deal with.
"The team survived and is still here, though, and the underlying development structure is in good shape."
Jason Morgan, acting Chief Executive of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, added: "Where most would expect cutbacks because of relegation, we have already set a budget for next season reflecting a desire to bounce straight back to the National Division. A reserve team will be introduced and a development officer appointed supporting the girls and women's programme. We will shortly be announcing trial dates for our senior teams.
"Paul Mortimer has extended his contract and we are showing signs of stability in only our second season under the Trust. The future looks bright with an exciting crop of young players coming through from the Academy and Centre of Excellence. The intake for next season's Academy at both Canterbury High School and London Leisure College will be the biggest yet.
"I cannot stress enough how Paul Mortimer has been such a huge role model and asset to the Girls and Women's programme and would encourage female players to come along and see our set up under his leadership."

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