The Competitions | Structure of the Women's Game

Discussion in 'United's Women's Team' started by jojojo, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Jun 21, 2018
    #1

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    A crash course on the FA women's club structure.

    First things first, the rules changed this year. No one knows yet whether that will work in the long run. It's fair to say that it's caused a lot of annoyance and disappointment. Plus some excitement - but that seems to be more about United's arrival than the structure.

    The top tier is the Women's Super League.
    • Last year's winners - Chelsea (RU - Manchester City)
    • 11 teams - with a hope from the FA that it can grow to 14.
    • Requires 20 hours daytime contact time (coaching etc) + match time for all players and several full-time staff. So it's effectively a full time pro league.
    • Attendance target >1000 rising to >2000
    • The top two qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League

    The next tier is the Women's Championship (aka WSL2). There will be promotion/relegation between it and the WSL, but how that will play out when the financial commitments get included isn't obvious. United are in here.
    • 12 teams
    • Requires at least 8 hours contact time + matches, a couple of full-time staff and some part-time staff. Intended to be open to semi-pro clubs as well as pro ones.
    • Attendance target 500+

    The rest of the pyramid is organised around regional leagues - mostly amateur with various kinds of semi-pro teams. There are teams in here who were demoted as a result of the rule changes. Sunderland have dropped straight down from WSL1. Oxford and Watford lost their WSL2 places. Southampton applied for a place in WSL1 but were rejected - and didn't get offered a championship place either.

    It's thought that United are going straight to the WSL1 full-time model. We could (it's believed) have asked for a WSL1 place immediately, but chose not to. The assumption is that we wanted to get our act together outside the glare of publicity, and away from direct comparison with the top teams.

    There are two domestic cup competitions, with eligibility similar in principle to the FA Cup and League Cup in the men's game. However the WSL cup has a regional group stage followed by a knockout competition - so we may meet some of our noisy neighbours sooner rather than later.
  2. Jun 21, 2018
    #2

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    Welcome to Manchester reception committee
    Incidentally that opening post is cobbled together rather than a demonstration of expert knowledge. The cup competition structure may also have changed but as the FA website isn't too hot on detail, I'm really not sure about that.

    All edits/updates are welcome.
  3. Jun 21, 2018
    #3

    Penna Kind Moderator (with a bit of a mean streak) Staff

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    That's a really helpful post, thanks @jojojo.
  4. Jun 21, 2018
    #4

    RedPamie Full Member

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    Helpful post, thanks very much @jojojo
  5. Jun 21, 2018
    #5

    Class of 63 Full Member

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  6. Jun 21, 2018
    #6

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt

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    Good stuff.
  7. Jun 22, 2018
    #7

    Jonno Full Member

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    Good post, I'm learning from scratch here. Looking forward to following them closely.
  8. Jun 22, 2018
    #8

    caid Full Member

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    Is there any kind of tv contract for any of the leagues? Or any sites that might stream games or anythign like that?
  9. Jun 22, 2018
    #9

    RedPamie Full Member

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    This is written before the decision.
    https://www.ourgamemag.com/2018/05/28/what-could-have-been-making-sense-of-the-fa-wsl-restructure/

    Learning new things every day about the women's game. See, United....?! I didn't think I could love you more... I was wrong.
  10. Jun 22, 2018
    #10

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    BBC and BT broadcast some WSL1 and Cup games - so eventually we may show up on there. I guess if we draw City in the cup someone might buy the match, we really are viewed as potential game-changers by the FA.

    WSL2/Championship doesn't have any broadcasters but MUTV may have some games. United say they'll also do highlights for some matches on the website and YouTube. It's in the "watch this space" category at the moment.
  11. Jun 22, 2018
    #11

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    I think a lot of us are.

    I watch (on TV) the England women's matches and I've seen the odd WSL/Cup final game between famous names, but had no interest in looking beyond that. But my whole attitude is different now United are in the mix.
  12. Jun 24, 2018
    #12

    cj_sparky Full Member

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    Sheffield Ladies cannot afford to play in the Championship and have withdrawn from the league.

    Sure I read an article saying, quite a few teams would not be able to afford the expansion of the WSL due to the increased number of games.
  13. Jun 24, 2018
    #13

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    That's sad. A lot of clubs have been adversely affected by the rule changes.

    I don't think it's the number of games as such. It's the new minimum numbers of contracted hours for players and support staff, and the other requirements like the youth team setup and the training and stadium facilities.

    WSL1 is now a full-time league. WSL2/Championship is still part-time but it's still a lot of hours. Probably too many hours for those doing it alongside a standard job or full-time college course.

    Non-league football has the same problem. Semi-pro players are often faced with what's effectively a pay cut if they take the step up when their team gets promoted and the team needs too many hours for them to keep their day jobs. The trouble in women's football is that it's the FA who have effectively artificially set the rules, rather than the economics of promotion/relegation and crowd sizes.

    Southampton may be able to take up the place, they wanted a WSL1 place but ended up the regional structure. I think they, and a couple of other teams, lodged appeals.
  14. Jun 25, 2018
    #14

    RedPamie Full Member

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    Blackburn Ladies is one of the clubs lodged appeals to FA. Some of the women's game fans blamed Manchester United for some of rejected applications. It's actually a bit funny. They wanted us to enter the game and when we did apply and was successful, they cried foul. The comments like "why do we have to make way for Manchester United when we are here longer?", "Big clubs bias" etc.

    At first I thought why didn't FA just allocate more teams in WSL 2? And yeah just realized it recently that not all clubs can afford number of games and the contracted hours for players and support staff.

    Basically some insiders in women's game wanted us to go straight to WSL 1 simply because we can and some angry and uninformed fans wanted us to just go away :nono:.
  15. Jun 25, 2018
    #15

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    The FA sees it as a chicken/eggs thing. They say standards won't rise until more players are full-time, staff are fully qualified, youth training is fully in place, training facilities are right. Without higher standards throughout WSL1 (not just the top three) they can't get more money from the TV, crowds won't grow, clubs won't become stronger and more self-sufficient. The WSL2/Championship changes are supposed to be a bridge to that.

    The effect is some traditional clubs have lost out in the changes in the past few years. Doncaster Rovers Belles (who won WSL2 last year) got kicked out of WSL1 a couple of years ago, to make way for City. They couldn't apply for a WSL1 licence this year, making ideas like promotion/relegation redundant. It's no surprise that there's a lot of frustration, and no wonder that United are seen as a symbol of the problem of the FA deliberately rigging the rules to squeeze smaller clubs out.

    Sheffield Ladies have worked their way up through the regional amateur leagues and came fifth in WSL2 last year. They had to go from a volunteer setup to a pro/semipro one on the coaching/admin side to meet the old WSL2 requirements, the new ones are a step too far. Things like the team needing a fulltime general/admin manager (FA specified minimum salary £35k) to the fulltime team manager needing a UEFA-A licence and other specialised coaches needing UEFA-B, goalkeeper training, fitness coach qualifications etc. The entry level is getting too high for clubs without financial backing (beyond the typical gate money, raffle ticket sales and fundraising events) and infrastructure support.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  16. Jul 12, 2018
    #16

    RedPamie Full Member

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    What the hell is happening...



    Doncaster Belles won last season WSL 2 but now?! The Players gone and dropping down to tier 3! So no Sheffield FC and Donny Belles in FAW Championship 2018-2019.


    Crystal Palace got in though.
  17. Jul 12, 2018
    #17

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    That's a real shame. I understand the FA's changes, particularly the ones that relate to WSL1 - they need that cross the board rise in standards.

    For existing WSL2/championship teams who were operating successfully at that level on a semi-pro basis there have been a series of tough financial hurdles over the past couple of years. A lot of their backroom staff would have been volunteers. A lot of their players would be on pay-as-you-play contracts and not got much more than expenses for training etc.

    The FA decision to enforce paid training/playing time for players and to make several coaching and admin jobs into full-time paid jobs was bound to push costs up. For clubs coping well on the playing side (like top of the Championship Doncaster and 5th placed Sheffield) it's particularly harsh.

    It's fair to say that as money entered they were bound to lose out, but letting it happen naturally on the football pitch would have felt fairer. It must be really upsetting for their fans, players, staff and volunteers.
  18. Jul 12, 2018
    #18

    Rolandofgilead Inserts strawberry yoghurt rectally Scout

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    You would have thought that the FA would have subsidised the wages somehow.
  19. Jul 13, 2018
    #19

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    I was reading that Doncaster Belles were actually going to see their FA subsidy cut this year (maximum subsidy in WSL1 is 120k/year, 60k in the Championship). The club say they're going back to their original mission - giving opportunities for girls and women to play, and coaches to learn - presumably instead of constantly trying to fundraise to meet the next requirement.
  20. Jul 13, 2018
    #20

    Gandalf Greyhame Full Member Scout

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  21. Jul 14, 2018
    #21

    Rolandofgilead Inserts strawberry yoghurt rectally Scout

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    It's a pretty poor show from the FA really. I mean we are supposed to be pushing to win a world cup next year but instead of investing in the game they seem to be holding back.

    We have a huge qualifier away in Wales next month. I'd like to see the investment going into player and club development now ready for next summer's tournament.
  22. Jul 25, 2018
    #22

    jojojo Moderator Staff

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    The licence appeals from the teams who wanted to join WSL1 or WSL2/Championship have been rejected. That means both divisions will run with 11 teams.

    The match schedule for both the leagues and the WSL Cup group stage are expected to appear at 11am on the 1st August.

    The league matches in both divisions start on the 8-9 September.

    The FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup groups matches start on the 18-19 August.

    http://www.thefa.com/news/2018/jul/24/the-fa-wsl-wc-clubs-confirmed-240718
    has the lists of clubs etc.
  23. Jul 25, 2018
    #23

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin) Staff

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    Really not a fan of divisions with odd number of teams. Would prefer an even number for both.
  24. Jul 26, 2018
    #24

    RedPamie Full Member

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    Odd number of teams mean there's a club that won't play in each week in each division. Some suggest two teams that don't play can face each other in a friendly :lol:

    And how about Continental tyres cup groups? How to divide 22 teams? I guess we'll know next week.