YEOVIL Town Ladies will drop down two divisions from the Women's Super League this summer, following the news that the Football Association has rejected their bid for a second-tier licence.

Yeovil had been expected to be playing in the Championship next season, having been relegated from the WSL this year, but it is understood that they have not met the FA's criteria.

It is the latest in a series of blows to the Somerset club, who have played matches in Taunton, Bridgwater and Dorchester in the last couple of years, and launched a 'Dual Careers Academy' in partnership with Bridgwater & Taunton College.

They were handed a 10-point deduction by the FA on March 28, after announcing their intention to appoint an administrator, although staff cuts and financial support from the FA prevented insolvency.

But their hopes of competing as a part-time club in next season's Championship have been dashed, with their licence bid being rejected – reportedly due to an inability to confirm sponsorship deals for the 2019/20 campaign.

Yeovil follow Sunderland in dropping down two divisions last summer, after they also had their bid for a licence turned down.

The club released the following statement on Friday evening: "It was with great sadness that the club received the notification from the Football Association that we had been refused a licence to play in Tier 2 (the Championship) of the women’s game next season.

"We submitted what we believed was a viable and sensible business plan to revert to part-time football but also keep all the building blocks in place to ensure our academy and young players could continue to develop.

"The FA did not support that plan and they have total discretion to whom they will or will not grant licences.

"It may surprise many to know that their right to make that decision is final and there is no right of appeal.

"So many people associated with this wonderful football club will be incredibly disappointed and rightly so.

"Our challenges on and off the field this season have been well documented but we have always tried to do the best in these circumstances.

"The club must now plan over the coming days and weeks for Tier 3 football and what that will mean for us on and off the field.

"Effectively this is where we started several years ago before our journey of growth.

"Many people doubted a small club like us could achieve what we have so it is now time to prove the doubters wrong once again.

"We shall share more thoughts and plans on this over the coming weeks as at the moment all involved need time to reflect on recent events.

"As a club we need to thank so many people who have been part of this family over recent years.

"Just about everyone assisting us off the field has been a volunteer and given time and expertise freely and graciously.

"In addition, both our fans and sponsors have been a huge source of commitment and encouragement.

"This year we want particularly to thank Lee Burch and his staff and players for what they achieved in the WSL against all odds and teams with budgets far exceeding ours.

"We are already talking to Lee about plans for next year and hope these discussions can be positive."