SUNDERLAND Women's boss Mel Reay welcomed the announcement that the prize fund for this season's FA Cup has been doubled to £6m.

The FA board has approved a £3m increase compared to last season, which means a prize pot of £44,000 per match at the third-round stage, up from £12,500 in the same round last season.

Winning the final will now earn the victors £430,000 compared to £100,000 last season, the FA said.

It is the second consecutive season in which the prize pot has increased, with last season’s uplift focused on the money available at the earlier stages of the competition.

“It’s really good for the women’s game," said Reay, whose side enter the competition at the third round stage.

“Hopefully we can have a good cup run because the financial gain is important for the football club.”

The FA’s director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said: “Doubling the prize money showcases the FA’s clear commitment to the future of the Women’s FA Cup and will help us maintain its stature as the most prestigious domestic women’s cup competition in the world.

“That’s why we’re delighted to be making a second successive increase to the prize fund, ensuring that as clubs progress through the competition they receive financial rewards that will empower them to invest in their own futures.

“Ultimately, we want the women’s competition to receive the same prize money as the men’s, and this new increase is a positive step in the direction of achieving that long-term ambition.”