FA Women's Super League Fixtures for the 2015 season

English FA Women’s Super League is reported to become a one-tier full-time league from 2018-19

BBC Sport has today announced that they have learned that the English Women’s Super League could become a one-tier league strictly for clubs sustaining full-time players.

At this moment in time, the FA Women’s Super League 1 is the highest tier of the football pyramid with the WSL 2 sitting below. Underneath the two Super Leagues are the Premier Divisions (North and South) who can be promoted into the Super League with the two division winners battling it out in a play-off match. The English women’s football pyramid continues with WPL Division Ones, Regional Premier Divisions, Regional League Division Ones and County Leagues.

It is reported by the BBC that the WSL 2 league will be a part-time league and may undergo re-branding.

The Football Association and the 20 WSL clubs will take part in a consultation period to discuss said plans – the new proposal may mean that part-time clubs that are competing at the highest level of English women’s football (WSL 1) could potentially move to the second division regardless of the outcome of this season’s results.

There have been some reservations about the format where it seems that the criteria to play in the highest league is not based on the team’s performance and results.

How it effects the rest of the women’s football pyramid and the current promotion and relegation system is also unclear at this time.

According to BBC Sport, the plans are:

  • Between eight and 14 teams with full-time professional players
  • A minimum of 16 contact hours per week for players, rising to 20 hours per week by 2020-21
  • Entry via a licence system, with a minimum level of investment required by each club
  • Financial Fair Play regulations and a squad cap
  • An academy at each club, compulsory as part of the licence
  • Rules restricting the number of non-English-qualified players in matchday squads would also be continued, as the FA bids to enhance opportunities for home-grown talent.

For the current WSL 2, the plans are:

  • Possible re-branding?
  • Between 10 and 12 teams, consisting of part-time players
  • Contact time for players of eight hours per week plus matches
  • A reserve team operated by each club, but no strict requirement to run an academy
  • The regional divisions of the Women’s Premier League would remain as the third and fourth tier within the English women’s football pyramid.

The top-tier clubs who wish to participate under the new plans will be required to run a youth academy.

BBC Sport has revealed that The FA are reported to be hoping to achieve competiveness of the WSL and bolstering English clubs’ chances in the Women’s Champions League, improve the player development pathway, grow the women’s game’s fan base and attract an increase in commercial and broadcast revenues from the new plans.

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