March 14 – The English FA has received 15 club applications to join the expanded top two tiers of women’s competition. As many as four new full time professional teams could enter the Women’s Super League (WSL), taking the league to 14 teams.
The second tier Women’s Championship could see five teams join the current seven-team semi-professional division.
West Ham United have applied to join the WSL. Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic, Coventry United, Derby County and Sheffield United have all applied for the Championship division, according to the BBC.
Under the new women’s structure WSL teams will have to minimum of 16 contact hours per week for players, rising to 20 hours per week by 2020-21; there will be a minimum level of financial investment required by each club; they will be subject to Financial Fair Play regulations and a squad cap; and they have to run an academy as part of the licence.
Women’s Championship teams will have to commit to contact time for players of eight hours per week plus matches, as well as running a reserve team.
The third tier of women’s football in England is split into Northern and Southern regions. A May 27 play-off will decide promotion to the Women’s Championship, provided the winner meets the new club licensing criteria. The remainder of the clubs that will be admitted into the top two divisions will be announced after that play-off.
At least one place in the Women’s Championship will be reserved for the winner of that play-off, provided the club involved applies and meets the licence criteria. Therefore, the names of the clubs who have earned spots in the top two divisions will not be confirmed until after 27 May.
Charlton are currently top of the third tier’s Southern league, while Middlesbrough are top of the Northern Division.
WSL: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Chelsea Ladies, Everton Ladies, Liverpool Ladies, Manchester City, Reading Women, Yeovil Town.
Women’s Championship: Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Sheffield FC Ladies, Tottenham Hotspur.
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