Published: 20:00, 19 June 2020
| Updated: 07:02, 20 June 2020
Gillingham have said they will no longer operate the senior ladies football team.
The Gills Ladies play in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division and they will continue as an independent entity - with a new name.
A statement from the Gills, issued on Friday night, said: “In line with other measures taken, or in the process of being taken due to current circumstances, and in regards to the restructuring of the football club, it is with great regret we have decided to no longer operate our senior ladies football team with immediate effect, and for the foreseeable future.”
The ladies had been playing home games at either Priestfield or Chatham Town’s Maidstone Road ground. They will retain their league status under the management of Josh Oatham.
The team are in discussions with the league over a name change to Gillingham Women's Football Club.
Oatham said: "Due to the current economic uncertainty, it was vital for the long-term set up of the ladies team that we were able to take this opportunity to continue the team’s current status.
"This now allows us to commit resources to the team that will help secure the club’s position in the FA Women’s National League - Southern Premier Division.
"This is a hugely exciting time for everybody involved with the ladies set-up and I believe the club is in safe hands with our strategy to ensure a competitive sustainable future."
He added: "The new women’s team would like to state their thanks to Gillingham Football Club and their executive management team for their foresight and cooperation in implementing a new future for them."
Gillingham said: “Of course we will follow their progress with interest and wish them continued success.
“The Women's National League have been advised of our decision and have sanctioned the new structure/team, which will retain its current league status.”
Gillingham have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus crisis and this week a letter from chairman Paul Scally to fans said his primary focus was “ensuring we all have a club to follow when normal football returns and fans are again safe to enjoy their passion from the terraces,”
That letter added that involved “some tough, painful, but necessary decisions.”