The Football Association have this afternoon announced further details of the changes being made to the top of the women’s football system in England ahead of the relaunch of its primary competitions for the 2018-19 season.
It has been confirmed that next year’s top tier, previously known as FA WSL 1, will be simply known as the FA Women’s Super League, whilst FA WSL 2 will become the FA Women’s Championship.
It was announced last year that all licences in the FA Women’s Super League would be opened up and that clubs outside the top two tiers would be able to apply for any available spots remaining.
The new move announced today is to make it easier to differentiate between the two levels with the top tier now strictly a full-time league and the second tier a part-time league.
The third tier FA Women’s Premier League will become the FA Women’s National League and will still be split regionally into two divisions of northern and southern teams.
Now begins the process of finalising which teams will be in which leagues for upcoming 2018-19 season, which is currently set to start at an earlier date in August to leave more rest time between games and a short break post-season before the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Current FA WSL 2 side Brighton & Hove Albion – under the leadership of former England head coach Hope Powell – have already guaranteed themselves a spot with FA WPL side West Ham United expected to join them when the rest of the places are confirmed in May.
Current FA WSL 1 side Sunderland chose not to bid for a licence by the original deadline but confirmed they were seeking to join up with an outside party with the intention of bidding for a spot come the second deadline in a couple of weeks’ time.
FA WSL 2 side Oxford United and Watford also chose not to bid but if they change their mind both sides, plus those from the lower tiers wishing to bid, have until March 9th to put together a plan of action which could see them entered into one of the top two tiers for the 2018-19 season.
The FA will now set to work on the rebranding of the new leagues and will reveal new logos and branding at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.