Barclays FA WSL and FA Women’s Championship referees and their assistants are to transfer to the Professional Game Match Officials from next season.
The move will see these match officials gain access to the same facilities, training and support that those in the men’s game receive in the Premier League and English Football League.
Following the announcement of the Barclays FA WSL’s new domestic media rights partnership with Sky Sports and the BBC, the FAWSL & FAWC Board agreed a new three-year investment programme with the PGMOL, to enhance the support and development of officiating in the professional women’s game.
The move is designed to further professionalise the environment for match officials, with an increased level of bespoke support tailored to the professional game.
Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game, said: “This is a major step for our match officials in their development and I’m confident that PGMOL have the right infrastructure to provide them with the necessary support to ensure they continue to develop, and deliver at the highest standard within the professional game.
“The women’s game has moved on significantly over the last few years and we must ensure that our referees are provided the right environment to move with it. We have a highly dedicated and passionate pool of officials, and the time is now right that their development opportunities align with that of the men’s professional game.”
Mike Riley, PGMOL managing director, added: “We’re extremely proud and excited to be in a position to help provide greater support for match officials working in the women’s game. The popularity and the standard is higher now than ever before and there is a recognition that match officials should be afforded the opportunities that are available in the men’s game.
“This is a really positive step and we’re looking forward to working closely with the match officials to support their growth and development.”
The agreement with PGMOL will commence from the start of the 2021-22 season. Officials outside the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship will remain under the umbrella of the FA.