The FA has officially announced the timing for the licenses renewal from the 2018/19 season.
The current licensing agreement finishes at the end of the 2017/18 season and the new licenses will only be offered for one season only from now on.
It will be interesting to see where the demoted teams end up as there is no indication if they go to the third, fourth or even fifth level of the pyramid.
The application period will end at the end of March and the FA will chose the bid winners by mid-May 2017. As usual with the FA, timing does not make sense and teams will know more than a year in advance if they are staying in WSL1, WSL2, relegated or demoted.
There is absolutely no doubt that Arsenal Ladies will be granted a new license as long as the team is funded by the parent club. The current investment level makes the teams among the top three budgets overall. Relegation to WSL 2 would mean at least 10 teams coming up with a better budget and marketing offer than was quoted at the beginning of the 2016 season ie €1.5m.
An ejection from the FA WSL would only happen if 20 (!) teams would come up with a bigger bid than the Ladies and for it to happen in the next four months would be unthinkable.
The FA has closed the door to new entrants in a bizarre move, but opened a backdoor by letting new teams bid for a license should one or more of the current 20 FA WSL teams don’t get offered a new one. AFC Fylde and Southampton FC are rumoured to be ready to put a bid, if there is an opening.
There is no sweat on the license renewal for 2018/19 as long as the budget and facilities stay the same, the Arsenal Ladies should get a FA WSL 1 licence.