A Blackburn Rovers fans' group is “disappointed” with the club reportedly only paying its female players the minimum wage next season.

Chris Lofthouse, a lifelong Blackburn Rovers fan and chair of Proud Rovers – the club’s LGBTQ+ supporters’ group – believes the women’s team deserves more than the £9,000 a year they have reportedly been offered, and that profits from the sale of players on the men's side should be funnelled to the female players.

This comes as Lioness midfielder and former Rovers youth player, Georgia Stanway, also criticised the club, saying “it’s very sad to see the club choosing not to back their women’s team”, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

A total of 10 players have left Blackburn Rovers WFC - who play in the Women's Championship, the second tier of the women's game - following their contracts expiring last week.

Mr Lofthouse said: “I’m very disappointed, £9,000 a year won’t even cover their petrol.

“When you want to close the equality gap this makes no sense as it widens it further, it’s like saying ‘we don’t give a stuff’.”

The reported wages would be in line with the UK minimum wage of £11.44 for those over 21 years old, with the players on a 16-hour contract training from Wednesday to Saturday and playing matches on Sundays.

Mr Lofthouse added: “I know money’s tight, but when you look at the funds coming in for Wharton and Raya, and other players we’ve sold.

“Surely there’s room in the budget to pay them a bit more.”

The Ewood Park club landed a sell-on fee in the region of £5 million after the transfer of Spanish goalkeeper David Raya from Brentford to Arsenal went through.

Rovers also landed around £18 million in January when academy product Adam Wharton was sold to Crystal Palace.

Lancashire has 938 women’s and girls’ football teams, the most of any county in England.

A football coach local to Blackburn, who didn’t wish to be named, reported a lot of aspiring female footballers will be put off a career in the sport as it’s “not sustainable financially” for them.

The coach also described the position local female footballers were in as “very degrading”.

Blackburn Rover's women finished in a club record-high position of sixth last season. Over the years, it has produced England internationals Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, and Keira Walsh.

In August 2023, Rovers hailed the “dawn of a ‘Blue Era”, changing the team’s name from Blackburn Rovers Ladies and swapping the colour of player’s shorts from white to blue.

Women’s first team head coach, Simon Parker, said at the time it was “a really exciting time to be at Rovers”, but there was no mention of a pay increase.

Mr Lofthouse believes more needs to be done, he said: “The women’s team should have their own facilities and have better access to the training ground.

“It’s upsetting and concerning.”

Blackburn Rovers are a club in financial uncertainty with its current owners, the Venkys, under a tax investigation in India.

Last summer, a petition to Delhi’s high court was needed so that the club’s parent company, Venky’s London Limited, could receive £26m to pay their tax bill in the UK.

Blackburn Rovers have declined to comment.