The FA has announced today the six new clubs that will join Tier 1 and Tier 2 in the Women’s Football pyramid.
One was already known as Charlton Women won the FA Women’s Premier League play-off on Sunday night against Blackburn Rovers and therefore made it to the newly named Championship.
Here are the the six teams that have been awarded licences by the FA in the second round of bidding:
FA WSL (Tier 1)
West Ham are the sole team who got accepted into the top tier, committing enough money and resources to create a professional team.
This means the new FA WSL will only have 11 teams.
It is quite unusual to have a league with a odd number of teams, as it will mean a team with a bye each matchday.
On the football side, West Ham finished in seventh position in the third tier tin, the FA WPL Southern Division, and will have to recruit a lot of new players to be able to compete.
Championship (Tier 2)
Charlton Women won the right to play in the Championship via promotion as winners of the FA WPL play-off between the Northern and Southern champions.
They beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 yesterday in Sheffield.
Manchester United were awarded a licence, despite not having a senior women’s team for more than a decade.
There is no doubt that the FA pushed really hard to get such a huge name to come back into the women’s game. They currently have an RTC which teams players can play in until they are 16. The pathway is now open for players to stay at United.
They are said to be recruiting a lot of young English players for their first season as a full-time pro team in what is a semi-professional league.
Lewes Women are the champions of equality in the game They actually pay their men and women’s team the same wages.
They finished in fifth place in the FA WPL Southern division.
Leicester City Women are backed by the men’s club. They finished as runners-up in the FA WPL Northern Division behind Blackburn Rovers, who did not make it to the Championship.
Sheffield United are also backed by their men’s club and hosted the FA WPL play-off final on Sunday.
They finished third in the fourth tier in the FA WPL Midlands Division 1.
Note that Sheffield Ladies will also play in the Championship as their FA WSL 2 licence was renewed in the previous round of bidding.
The teams that have lost out, who were previously in the FA WSL are Sunderland, Watford and Oxford, who will all be demoted to a Division not known yet.
It means at least a double relegation for Sunderland and a single one for Watford and Oxford.
Those three teams did not have enough money to put in a bid at the first stage and their bids have now been rejected.
To recap, the 11 clubs which will form The FA Women’s Super League for the 2018-19 season are:
• Birmingham City Ladies
• Brighton & Hove Albion Women
• Bristol City Women
• Chelsea FC Women
• Everton Ladies FC
• Liverpool Ladies FC
• Manchester City Women
• Reading FC Women
• Yeovil Town Ladies
• West Ham United Ladies*
The 12 clubs that will form The FA Women’s Championship for the 2018-2019 season are:
• Aston Villa Ladies FC
• Doncaster Rovers Belles
• Durham Women FC
• London Bees
• Millwall Lionesses
• Sheffield FC Ladies
• Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
• Charlton Athletic Women**
• Leicester City Women*
• Lewes FC Women*
• Manchester United Women*
• Sheffield United Ladies*
*Approved within the open application phase
**Winners of The FA Women’s Premier League Championship Play-Off