Following the demise of Notts County Ladies, the FA has decided to re-balance the two FA WSL divisions by going with a 10-10 split rather than 9-11 as it was originally designed.
The original plan was to have 10 teams in FA WSL 1 and 11 teams in FA WSL 2, but Notts County’s owner pulling the plug on their Ladies side changed everything. Players are now looking for new clubs and now an FA WSL 2 team will get an unexpected promotion to FA WSL 1.
“As clubs had not been aware at the start of the FA WSL Spring Series that a place in FA WSL 1 would become available, along with the importance of clubs being equipped on and off the pitch to compete in the top division, it was decided that a full application process should take place,” The FA said.
“The five elements of the application will be weighted for assessment purposes as follows: finance and business management (30 per cent), players, staff and youth development (30 per cent), facilities (20 per cent), marketing and commercial (15 per cent) and 2016 and Spring Series on-pitch performance (5 per cent).”
It is actually the first time that the FA has put a percentage and weight on the different items used for selection. In the previous bidding process, the FA would only confirm the four criteria used.
More transparency from the FA is always a good news. They continued,“Clubs must submit their application by midday on Tuesday 30 May. The decision will be made in early June, before confirmation of the successful club’s new league place at the FA WSL AGM on Wednesday 28 June.”
This also confirms that the timeline for attributing the 2018/19 licenses has been altered, as they were supposed to be disclosed between mid-May and end of May. It does make sense, because giving away the 2018/19 licenses, before the extra one for the 2017/18 season would not be a very logical step.
If we are looking at the criteria and the percentage linked to those, Everton are clearly in the driving seat with Doncaster, having just been relegated, surely capable of producing an FA WSL1 budget as well. There might be some dark horses like Brighton, who are now backed up by a Premier League team and the money that brings.
In other news Southampton FC have created a team for 16-to-21 years old that will play friendlies against other teams as well as in the FA WSL Development League teams.
Southampton currently has an RTC team that cover the u9-to-u16 age group. This is clearly a first step towards getting a full FA WSL licence as having a Development team, ie u20, is one of the requirements.
The question is will Southampton or Leicester will be allowed to bid for a FA WSL place in the 2018/19 line-up as a replacement for the now defunct Notts County Ladies team, as the original plan was to have 21 teams, rather than the 20 we will have in 2017/18?
If they are not allowed to bid for a licence, Southampton will have to make it from the bottom of the pyramid while Leicester will have to come from the FA WPL Northern Division after they just promoted from the Midlands Division one.