The Football Association Women's Super League (currently known as the Barclays FA Women's Super League for sponsorship reasons or FA WSL for short) is the highest league of women's football in England. Established in 2010, it is run by the Football Association and currently features 12 fully professional teams.
An initial eight teams competed in the inaugural 2011 edition, which replaced the FA Women's Premier League as the highest level of women's football in England. Between 2014 and 2018, FA WSL consisted of two divisions–WSL 1 and WSL 2–and brought promotion and relegation system to the league. Since the 2018–19 season, FA WSL 2 is now known as the FA Women's Championship and remains the second division in the English women's football pyramid. WSL has operated as a summer league running from March until October, from its creation until the end of the 2016 season. From autumn 2017, the league operates as a winter league from September to May, with a one-off shortened bridging season, known as the FA WSL Spring Series, held between February and May 2017. The WSL champions and runners-up qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League the following season. The current FA Women's Super League champions are Arsenal, who won the 2018–19 edition.
|FA Women's Super League|
|Founded||22 March 2010|
|Number of teams||12|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||FA Women's Championship|
|International cup(s)||Champions League|
|Current champions||Arsenal (3rd title) |
|TV partners||BT Sport|
The FA WSL was due to start in 2010 to replace the FA Women's Premier League as the top level of women's football in England but was deferred for a year due to the global economic downturn. Sixteen clubs applied for 8 places in the inaugural season of the league: Arsenal, Barnet, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy, Chelsea, Colchester United, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Everton, Leeds Carnegie, Leicester City, Lincoln Ladies, Liverpool, Millwall Lionesses, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, and Sunderland. Leeds Carnegie later withdrew their application. Women's Premier League clubs Blackburn Rovers and Watford declined to apply. FA Chief Executive Ian Watmore described the creation of the league as a "top priority" in February 2010. The inaugural WSL season started on 13 April 2011.
For the 2014 season the league was extended to add relegation for WSL teams. A second division was created named FA WSL 2, with nine new teams added and one team being relegated from the WSL 1. WSL 1 remained as eight teams, with the WSL 2 having ten teams. The new WSL 1 licence was awarded to Manchester City. Doncaster Rovers Belles were relegated to the WSL 2. They appealed against their demotion, but were unsuccessful.
In December 2014, the FA WSL announced a two-year plan to expand the WSL 1 from an eight to a ten-team league. Two teams were promoted from the WSL 2 at the end of the 2015 season, while one team was relegated to the WSL 2 with the same happening at the end of the 2016 season. Also, for the first time, a team from the FA Women's Premier League earned promotion to WSL 2, effectively connecting the WSL to the rest of the English women's football pyramid.
The FA announced in July 2016 that the league would move from a summer league format to a winter one in line with the traditional football calendar in England, with matches played from September to May the following year. A shortened bridging season took place, branded as the FA WSL Spring Series, with teams playing each other once from February to May 2017.
Following the 2017–18 FA WSL season, the league was re branded as the FA Women's Super League, becoming a fully professional league for the first time with eleven teams for the 2018–19 season, complete with a new league logo. Teams had to re-apply for their licence to earn their place in the league, requiring clubs to offer their players a minimum 16 hour a week contract and to form a youth academy as compulsory for the new licence criteria. Sunderland were moved down to tier 3 in the women's football pyramid after not receiving a licence whilst Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United were added to the league.
The league was extended to twelve teams for the 2019–20 season with Yeovil Town relegated after going into administration and replaced with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur who gained promotion from the championship.
The FA Women's Super League currently consists of eleven clubs. Initially the league was described as professional, with the top four players on each team being paid an annual salary in excess of £20,000. However, in November 2010 it was confirmed that the WSL will be semi-professional, with only a "handful" of top players full-time. Clubs' annual wage bills were expected to be approximately one-tenth of those in the now-defunct American Women's Professional Soccer.
After the league fixtures, the teams compete for a knock-out cup competition, the FA WSL Continental Cup. For the 2014 season, the teams were placed into three regional groups of six. The group winners and best-performing runners-up all advanced to a knockout semi-finals. Since the 2015 season, the WSL Continental Cup have been played simultaneously with the league season.
Following a review, the FA announced in September 2017 that a restructuring of the league and its licensing criteria will follow from the 2017–18 season with a goal of a fully professional top division of between 8 and 14 teams, and a second division of up to 12 semi-professional teams. For the 2018–19 season, the league was expanded to eleven teams and became fully professional.
The league's lead sponsorship partner has been Continental Tyres since 2012. In 2013, it was announced that Continental had extended their partnership as the exclusive partner of the FA's new commercial programme from 2014–2018 and includes the England women's national football team, FA Women's Cup and the FA WSL Continental Cup in addition to the WSL. During the 2010 season, Yorkshire Building Society was also a sponsorship partner along with Continental.
In March 2019, the Women's Super League agreed a multi-million sponsorship deal with British bank Barclays from the start of the 2019–20 season. The three year sponsorship deal is reported to be in excess of £10 million with a prize money pot of £500,000 for the league champions for the first time. The FA described the deal as "the biggest ever investment in UK women's sport by a brand".
Ahead of the 2019–20 season, the FA launched a new streaming service that would broadcast every FA WSL game live internationally for free as well as a select number of FA Women's Championship games. The platform will also host highlight packages from the Women's FA Cup, FA Women's League Cup and international England games.
BBC Sport will continue to air one game a weekend digitally via their iPlayer service and website, while subscription channel BT Sport also holds the rights to televise a selection of matches.
Previously, games were broadcast via ESPN from 2009 to 2013 as part of an exclusive four-year broadcast rights deal. Six live matches were broadcast in 2011 in addition to a weekly highlights package, with ten games expected to be shown in 2012. ESPN broadcast the opening game of the WSL between Chelsea and Arsenal at Imperial Fields, Morden on 13 April 2011, a game Arsenal won 1–0 with a first half goal by Gilly Flaherty. The second televised game took place on 12 May 2011 as Doncaster Belles lost 1–0 to Everton Ladies at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster. In 2013, BBC Two broadcast four WSL programmes during the 2013–14 season. Each programme featured goal round-ups, highlights, features and previews of England's World Cup qualifiers.
The following twelve clubs are competing in the 2019–20 season, with foundation clubs displayed in bold text.
|Birmingham City||Solihull||Damson Park||3,050||4th|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||Crawley||Broadfield Stadium||6,134||9th|
|Bristol City||Filton||Stoke Gifford Stadium||1,500||6th|
|Chelsea||Kingston upon Thames||Kingsmeadow||4,850||3rd|
|Everton||Southport||Walton Hall Park||10th|
|Manchester City||Manchester||Academy Stadium||7,000||2nd|
|Manchester United||Manchester||Leigh Sports Village||12,000||WC, 1st|
|Reading||High Wycombe||Adams Park||9,617||5th|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Canons Park||The Hive Stadium||6,500||WC, 2nd|
|West Ham United||Romford||Rush Green Stadium||3,000||7th|
In the first season of the WSL clubs were subject to a squad cap of 20 players. This proved unpopular with both managers and players. Ahead of the 2012 season, the rule was reviewed and the cap increased to 23 players. Players from outside the European Union are subject to Home Office work permit regulations, like their male counterparts.
The FA said in April 2012 that the salary rule of allowing only four players per team to earn over £20,000 and the fact that all clubs are paid £70,000 per season from a Club Development Fund should limit any financial "imbalance" between clubs. However, the introduction of a genuine salary cap remained under consideration for 2013 and beyond. Doncaster manager John Buckley revealed that his club lost Rachel Williams and other players to Birmingham City because he was working to a budget eight times smaller than that enjoyed by Birmingham.
When the 2012 WPS season was cancelled in the United States, Lincoln Ladies manager Glen Harris said that the next destination of that league's British players would be decided by "pounds, shillings and pence." Ultimately Kelly Smith, Alex Scott and Gemma Davison all joined Arsenal, while Ifeoma Dieke and Anita Asante joined the Swedish Damallsvenskan in preference to the WSL.
|2011||Arsenal||Birmingham City||Everton||Rachel Williams (Birmingham City)||14|
|2012||Arsenal||Birmingham City||Everton||Kim Little (Arsenal)||11|
|2013||Liverpool||Bristol Academy||Arsenal||Natasha Dowie (Liverpool)||13|
|2014||Liverpool||Chelsea||Birmingham City||Karen Carney (Birmingham)||8|
|2015||Chelsea||Manchester City||Arsenal||Beth Mead (Sunderland)||12|
|2016||Manchester City||Chelsea||Arsenal||Eniola Aluko (Chelsea)||9|
|2017–18||Chelsea||Manchester City||Arsenal||Ellen White (Birmingham City)||15|
|2018–19||Arsenal||Manchester City||Chelsea||Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)||22|
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runners-up|
|Arsenal||3||0||2011, 2012, 2018–19|
|Chelsea||2||2||2015, 2017–18||2014, 2016|
|Manchester City||1||3||2016||2015, 2017–18, 2018–19|
|Birmingham City||0||2||2011, 2012|
The 2010-11 season of the FA Women's Premier League was the 19th season of the former top flight of English women's association football. This season the FA Women's Super League became the top level, superseding a reduced eight-team Premier League National Division.
Although there was no promotion to the FA Women's Super League until at least 2013, two teams were relegated into the Northern and Southern Divisions. The top two from each of these Divisions will then be promoted into a 10-team National Division for 2011-12.2011 FA WSL
The 2011 FA WSL was the inaugural season of the FA WSL, the top-level women's football league of England. The season began on 13 April 2011 and ended on 28 August 2011. The league also took a break between 12 May and mid-July to allow preparation for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.Arsenal won the competition, their eighth consecutive English title, Birmingham finished second. The second entry to the UEFA Women's Champions League was supposed to be given to the FA Women's Cup winner, on 6 December 2011 however it was announced that Birmingham as runners-up were given the spot.2012 FA WSL
The 2012 FA WSL is the second season of the FA WSL, the top-level women's football league of England. The season began on 8 April 2012 and was scheduled to end in October 2012. The league is to break between 8 July and 19 August to allow preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.Arsenal won the competition, their ninth consecutive English title. Entry to the 2013–14 UEFA Women's Champions League was earned by Arsenal, as champions, and Birmingham City, as runners–up.2014 FA WSL
The 2014 FA WSL was the fourth season of the FA WSL, the top-level women's football league of England. The season began on 30 March and ended on 12 October.Liverpool L.F.C. are the defending champions from the 2013 FA WSL. The top two teams qualify for the 2015–16 UEFA Women's Champions League.Beginning in the 2014 season, the WSL added a second division, the WSL 2. Because the divisions are interconnected, WSL 1 teams face the risk of relegation for the first time in the league's history. There is, however, no connection to the third level Women's Premier League, so WSL 2 teams cannot be relegated. WSL 1 consists of eight teams while the WSL 2 is made up of ten.
Starting places in both divisions were granted based on applications sent in by clubs, so Manchester City were able to enter its newly created women's team directly into the WSL 1. The governing body announced it will partially fund teams in the league, awarding £70,000 to clubs in WSL1 and £23,000 in WSL2.2018–19 FA WSL
The 2018–19 FA WSL was the eighth edition of the FA Women's Super League (WSL) since it was formed in 2010. It was the first season after a rebranding of the four highest levels in English women's football. The previous FA WSL 2 is now the Championship – eleven clubs are competing in the 2018–19 FA Women's Championship.
Arsenal won their first WSL since 2012 with a 4–0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.2019–20 FA WSL
The 2019–20 FA WSL season (also known as the Barclays FA Women's Super League for sponsorship reasons) will be the ninth edition of the FA Women's Super League (WSL) since it was formed in 2010. It is the second season after the rebranding of the four highest levels in English women's football and the twelve teams contesting the season will be the greatest number in the league's history thus far, following its steady increase from its original eight. It is the first under the new Barclays title sponsorship following a landmark multi-million pound investment.Ahead of the 2019–20 season, the FA launched a new comprehensive streaming service that would broadcast every FA WSL game live internationally for free. BBC Sport will continue to air one game a weekend digitally via their iPlayer service and website while subscription channel BT Sport also holds the rights to televise a select number of matches.Academy Stadium
Academy Stadium is a football stadium in Manchester, England, forming part of the Etihad Campus. Announced on 19 September 2011 as part of an 80-acre training facility to cater for around 400 youth players at a time, the campus was completed in late 2014 and unveiled on 8 December 2014. The stadium, known simply as Academy Stadium, was inaugurated by students of Manchester Metropolitan University, who played the official first games on the pitch on 14 December 2014.Although not the biggest building of the facility the stadium still features numerous facilities more common to larger stadia, including a press room, board room, offices and retail space. Situated only 400 metres from the City of Manchester Stadium, the Academy Stadium is linked to the mother ground via a 190-metre bridge across the intersection of Ashton New Road and Alan Turing Way.The stadium is the new home stadium of the Elite Development Squad and other senior academy teams, and also of Manchester City Women. In 2016, it was used as one of the two venues for that year's World Rugby Under 20 Championship in rugby union, alongside AJ Bell Stadium in Salford.Beth Mead
Bethany Jane Mead (born 9 May 1995) is an English footballer who plays as a forward for Arsenal and the England national team.Broadfield Stadium
The Broadfield Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Crawley, England. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of Crawley Town F.C. The stadium has a capacity of 6,134 people, and is owned by Crawley Borough Council.
Between 2013 and 2018, the stadium was named the Checkatrade.com Stadium as part of a sponsorship deal. In late 2018, the stadium was renamed “The Peoples Pension Stadium” as part of a new sponsorship dealFA Women's Championship
The Football Association Women's Championship is the second-highest division of women's football in England. The division was established in 2014 as FA Women's Super League 2 (WSL 2), before being renamed in 2018.Faye White
Faye Deborah White, (born 2 February 1978) is a former English footballer who captained Arsenal Ladies in the FA Women's Super League and was the longest serving captain of England to date, overtaking the 26-year-old record previously held by Carol Thomas. One of the most recognised and respected players in the women's game, Faye was a commanding presence at the heart of the Arsenal and England teams from the late 1990s until her retirement in 2013. Faye was recognised for services to Sport in the Queen's New Year's Honours List 2007, being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) In recognition of her achievements she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2015.Haig Avenue
Haig Avenue, currently known as the The Pure Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is a football stadium in Blowick, Southport, Merseyside, England, that holds 6,008 people (1,660 seated, 4,164 standing) Since its opening in 1905 it has been the home ground of Southport F.C.Keira Walsh
Keira Fae Walsh (born 8 April 1997) is an English footballer who plays as a midfielder for Manchester City of the FA WSL. Walsh became a first-team regular during their 2014 campaign, playing a key role in the team securing the Continental Cup.List of foreign FA Women's Super League players
The FA Women's Super League (FA WSL or WSL) is the highest league of women's football in England. The league, which started in 2011, was divided in two separate divisions (WSL 1 and WSL 2) from 2014; only the WSL 1 is considered in this list. The following players must meet both of the following two criteria:
Have played at least one FA WSL game. Players who were signed by WSL clubs, but only played in lower league, cup and/or European games, or did not play in any competitive games at all, are not included.
Are considered foreign, i.e., outside United Kingdom, or Ireland determined by the following:A player is considered foreign if she is not eligible to play for the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or The Republic of IrelandMore specifically:
If a player has been capped on international level, the national team is used; if she has been capped by more than one country, the highest level (or the most recent) team is used. These include British/Irish players with dual citizenship.
If a player has not been capped on international level, her country of birth is used, except those who were born abroad from British parents or moved to the United Kingdom at a young age, and those who clearly indicated to have switched her nationality to another nation.Clubs listed are those for which the player has played at least one FA WSL game.
In bold: players who have played at least one FA WSL game in the current season (2018–19), and the clubs for which they have played. They include players who have subsequently left the club, but do not include current players of a WSL club who have not played a WSL game in the current season.
Last updated: FA WSL matches played on 24 March 2019.Manchester United W.F.C.
Manchester United Women Football Club is a professional football club based in the Salford suburb of Broughton, Greater Manchester, England, around 1.5 miles from Manchester city centre, that will compete in the Women's Super League (WSL), the top tier of English women's football, after gaining promotion from the Championship at the end of the 2018–19 season. They are based at The Cliff, formerly used as a training ground by the men's equivalent.Meadow Park (Borehamwood)
Meadow Park is a football ground in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England. It is the home ground of Boreham Wood F.C. and also hosts the home matches of Arsenal Women F.C., Arsenal youth teams, and Watford Reserves.Millie Bright
Millie Bright (born 21 August 1993) is an English footballer who plays as a defender for Chelsea and the England national team.The Hive Stadium
The Hive Stadium is a stadium in Canons Park, on the former site of the Prince Edward Playing Fields in the London Borough of Harrow. The stadium is home to National League football club Barnet, London Bees of the FA Women's Championship and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Women of the FA WSL.
The stadium's official capacity is 6,500, but its record attendance is 6,215, set on 28 January 2019 for Barnet's 3–3 draw with Brentford.Walton Hall Park
Walton Hall Park in Walton, Liverpool, England is a 130-acre (0.53 km2) park. It was opened to the public on July 18, 1934 by King George V when he visited Liverpool to open the Queensway Tunnel. The origins of the park date back to Henry de Walton, steward of the West Derby hundred in 1199.
The park contains two lakes which are very popular with fishermen. The larger lake has two islands and is inhabited by several large carps, bream and tench fishes as well as a large amount of skimmer breams, roaches and perches. The smaller lake has a path running around the perimeter making it ideal for match fishermen to set up with their seatboxes; it offers good amounts of Roach and Bream as well as several Carp and Tench.
In the summer of 2019 it was announced that Everton L.F.C. of the FA Women's Super League would play their home games at the park from the 27 September onwards.
|2019–20 FA Women's Super League teams|
|2019–20 FA Women's Championship teams|
|North and Central America,|
and the Caribbean (clubs)
|South America (clubs)|