The Women’s FA has announced that there is to be a restructure to the league pyramid, with the Women’s Super League 2 to be named the FA Women’s Championship next season.
The announcement comes following comprehensive research that was conducted after the proposal was commissioned by the FA Women’s Football Board.
The Women’s Super League 1, will now just be known as the Women’s Super League and will be solely for full-time clubs, while the Women’s Championship is for semi-professional clubs.
The regionally split third tier, currently known as the Premier League, is to be renamed the FA Women’s National League North and South.
Meanwhile, the fourth tier, which is split into four regions and is known as the Women’s Premier League Division One, will now be called the Women’s National League One.
A statement released by the Women’s FA, said: “Research identified there was a need for greater clarity to the positioning of the leagues. The rebrand provides a clear separation between the top two tiers – full-time professional and part-time semi-professional – while also providing a more appropriate name for the third and fourth tier league, which reflects in its scale and national reach.”
Following the initial deadline for applications to the leagues, ten clubs secured their place in the Women’s Super League next season, with that number potentially rising to 14 after the second phase of applications opens to external clubs.
Brighton & Hove Albion are so far the only new team to have been granted a place in the top division and they are managed by former England Ladies head coach, Hope Powell. WPL side West Ham United Ladies are also expected to join them once the next places are confirmed in May.
Sunderland Ladies, who are currently 7th in the WSL 1, decided not to bid for a license for the original deadline. However, they have now stated their intentions are to join with a new party so they can apply for a spot before the next deadline.
There will be a maximum of 12 places available in the Women’s Championship, with seven clubs so far securing their place in the second tier. Of the five places that remain up for grabs, one place is guaranteed for the winners of the end of season third-tier play-off, subject to them meeting the license criteria.
In the second division, Watford Ladies and Oxford United Ladies decided not to bid for their licenses in the first application phase. Women’s Premier League South side Crystal Palace Ladies announced yesterday that they intend on applying for a place in that division.
The second application process is now an open invitation to clubs who wish to join any of the league’s – whether they already compete in them, or currently play outside of the FA WSL. The deadline to apply by is Friday 9th March.