June 3 – The Japan FA (JFA)has taken the next steps towards the launch of its first professional women’s league saying that its official name will be the ‘WE LEAGUE (Women Empowerment League)’ and unveiling the league logo.
Scheduled to kick off in autumn 2021, the league will play through to May 21.
The JFA said that the league will open with six to ten teams and will be played on a home and away format. There will initially be promotion to the league but there will unlikely be relegation “for several years” as the league establishes its credentials and sustainability.
Tashima Kohzo, president of the JFA said: “The purpose of the launch of the new league is not just the development of women’s football in Japan. Our aim is to contribute to build a sustainable society through promoting female social participation and enhancing diversities and choices. How we contribute to the society through sports is an important mission for all of us in the sports world. We will work on to establish the career of women’s professional footballer, which is the dream of many girls, and further promote women’s empowerment and solve social issues.”
The first teams to participate in the league will be announced this Autumn, said the JFA.
The league comes with a strong vision and philosophy that promotes the opportunity for “Each individual to live in a world full of dreams and diversity to enhance and brighten the society through women’s football and sports.”
“The WE League will offer ‘Professional Female Footballer’ as a new profession in Japanese society. Furthermore, coaches, referees, club management and league administration will also be given chances to thrive in a broader world, so “WE” can all participate and succeed in the WE League,” said a JFA statement.
Japan has long been a leader in the women’s international game having played at eight World Cups and winning against the US on penalties in the final in 2011, but losing four years later to the US in the 2015 final.
The WE League will position at the top of the women’s football pyramid in Japan, above the current 30-year old Nadeshiko League.
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