France 2019 sparks talk of women’s pro league in Scotland

June 19 – Scotland’s World Cup campaign in France might be on a knife edge, but Ian Maxwell, the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) has said a full-time professional women’s league could be created in Scotland following the impact of the Women’s World Cup.

Scotland are playing in their maiden Women’s World Cup and the first World Cup for the country in 21 years. Two years ago they also qualified for their first European Championship. Those achievements have fueled the women’s game in Scotland.

“The impact of the tournament will be huge, transformational to be honest,” Maxwell told the Times. “It has been talked about a lot back home and six to twelve months ago it probably wasn’t being talked about on the same level. It’s up to the association to try gauge that interest and drive it forward. Women’s football is on a journey and this is a massive part of increasing awareness back home.”

“It’s up to us, in conjunction with our member clubs, to maximise that and give every girl who wants to play football in Scotland the opportunity to do so.”

Scotland has no full-time professional teams in its existing Women’s Premier League. Last December Celtic Glasgow did announce they plan to establish Scotland’s first professional women’s side next year. Celtic’s lead has not been followed by any other clubs, but Maxwell believes there are opportunities and growing commercial interest to develop the domestic women’s game.

“A number of clubs are looking at pretty much full-time women’s teams,” said Maxwell. “The more that develops, the more opportunities there will be for girls, and the more clubs will follow suit. Commercially we’ve seen with the deals we’ve been able to do [for the national team] that there’s definitely more interest. I’m sure clubs will be finding that when they’re talking to their sponsors and partners. It’s about getting that investment to enable them to commit to full-time teams.”

Scotland have lost both their games in France. First they lost against rivals and neighbours England 2-1 in Nice and then they went down to Japan with the same scoreline. On Wednesday they meet Argentina in their final group game and a do-or-die match with a victory opening up a narrow avenue of possibility to qualify for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600939390labto1600939390ofdlr1600939390owedi1600939390sni@o1600939390fni1600939390