From 2017, the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) will move to a new calendar, starting in autumn.
The change to the scheduling of matches will see the women’s league played alongside the traditional football calendar, from September until May each season.
Next year, to bridge the gap between the seasons, there will be a one-off competition, The FA WSL Spring Series, which will be played from February to May. Each team will play each other once as they compete for the Spring Series trophy.
The FA WSL was launched as a summer league in 2011, with eight teams, and is now in its sixth season. In 2014 a second division, FA WSL 2, was created and there are now 19 teams across the two tiers. Chelsea Ladies are the current FA WSL champions having lifted the 2015 title last October.
The change in format has been introduced to increase player welfare, further grow and develop the league and attendances, address fixture congestion and planning and provide the platform for a winning England team. The restructuring will also benefit those FA WSL clubs, such as ourselves, who are involved in the Champions League and the Women’s FA Cup final will move to the end of the season.
FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons said: ‘When we launched the FA WSL in 2011 it was the right decision to play it as a summer league, which has been demonstrated by the competitive, exciting football, growing attendances and player development.
‘However, there are still a number of issues holding the league back, such as fixture scheduling and ground availability. We want to keep building on the momentum and growth of the league and we believe now is the right time to change the calendar.
‘The move is designed to bring many benefits to the women’s game and we’ve worked closely with our clubs and other stakeholders in making this decision.'
The current FA WSL campaign runs until November, with the Blues next in action on Sunday when we take on Arsenal at Wheatsheaf Park. The game is live on BT Sport.