Albion have had their application for Tier One status for the 2018/19 season accepted after the FA revealed plans to restructure the highest two tiers of the women’s football pyramid back in September.

The club went through a vigorous application process and committed to meeting the FA’s key criteria of full-time professional players receiving a minimum of 16 hours of contact time per week as well as ensuring they receive the necessary support required at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

A deal has now been agreed in principle to host women's first-team matches at the Stadium in Crawley from the 2018-19 season.

Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “This is absolutely fantastic news, and is testament to the hard work from everyone at the club in ensuring we had the best-possible application to present to the FA.

“We have always wanted to achieve equal status for women’s and girls’ football at the club, and acquiring Tier One status will now enable us to make this a reality.

“Our strong commitment to women’s and girls’ football starts at the top of our club through chairman, Tony Bloom, and it will be very exciting to see what the future holds for the women’s and girls’ game at Brighton.”

Women’s first-team manager Hope Powell said: “I am overjoyed with the announcement, as this will allow the club to realise its aim of playing at the very highest level.

“This is also wonderful news for the players, especially those coming through the RTC and academy, who now have a pathway towards playing professional football.

“I have previously said that achieving Tier One status is the next logical step for us in our long-term plan, and I would like to thank everyone inside and outside of the club for their support.”

Women's chair and club director Michelle Walder added: “This is a very proud day for me as chair of the women’s board.

“Our commitment to women’s and girls’ football is outstanding, and it will very exciting to see the club grow on and off the pitch in the coming years.

“I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support.”

The club have publicly thanked a number of key stakeholders in the application process, including Crawley Town FC, Albion in the Community, Sussex County FA, Worthing College and both the University of Brighton and University of Chichester.