Saints have made a formal commitment to jump back into women’s football as part of their deal with Under Armour.

The club did have the Southampton Saints team under their umbrella until cutting them loose in 2005 following relegation from the Premier League.

The absence of a female arm to the club has been a glaring omission at St Mary’s ever since, but, with Under Armour’s help, Saints will change that as they first establish an FA approved girl’s academy and later a first team.

Chairman Ralph Krueger said: “First of all it’s a question of respect.

“That’s something where I really believe, and we all do at Southampton Football Club, of the importance of giving girls and women the opportunity to find their personal excellence through sports.

“What we do here at Southampton Football Club is do that with our staff, and we challenge our staff to really find growth.

“That was a moment when the Under Armour relationship started it became a given they would do something with us.

“They are going to help us and they are expediting the technology and the innovation that they have already in women’s sports and then bringing our ‘Southampton Way’ and the way we teach the game. That’s another opportunity to expand that teaching and give more opportunities to expand it.

“We will be hiring somebody to lead that whole programme, the Les Reed of the women’s and girl’s game, will be presented here in the next few weeks.

“It’s a commitment that’s not just lip service, we are going to live this and bring excellence into that programme.”

Krueger’s eventual aim is to get a player come through the Saints ranks to represent England, but the first step is to get FA approval.

“We find out from the FA at the end of this month what tier we get to step in on and according to that it will be which facilities we use and so on,” he explained.

“There is still a lot to do but we will launch this in 2016-17, they will be playing football between ten and 16.

“The women’s team is another entity.

“Right now with the FA we are trying to get the academy level set up properly and launch that in 2016 but I have to be careful on details because we don’t know our tier yet. Once we know our tier we put things into place, but we have facilities lined up and options and we will put that together in May or June when we have it all together.”