Sunderland Ladies to revert back to part-time status

Sunderland Ladies take on Chelsea in October 2015 Credit: PA

Sunderland's ladies team is to revert to a part-time model saying its mix of both part and full-time players was not working.

The Lady Black Cats have played the past two seasons in the Women's Super League with a squad of full-time professional combined with part-time players.

In a statement the club said that, after a review, a mix of "full and part-time players was not working" as had been expected.

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain said every aspect of the football club was being reviewed - but pledged support for women's football saying the part-time model was "a more effective way forward for all of us".

Sunderland finished seventh in the Women's Super League in 2016, winning two of their 16 games.

The team launched the careers of a host of stars including England captain Steph Houghton, who now plays for current champions Manchester City.

In 2015, five former Sunderland players made the England's Women's squad for that year's World Cup in Canada.

As well as Houghton, Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Bronze and Carly Telford helped England come third, beating Germany in a play-off.