The SPFL has stated that a majority of the 17 Scottish Women’s Premier League clubs have said they want to be part of a new competition from next season.
The Scottish Professional Football League will invite clubs to become members of a new two-tier league competition, with the SPFL also running a new League Cup.
The announcement comes after months of talks between clubs, the Scottish FA, SPFL and Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) about how to best to build upon the progress that the Scottish women’s game has made in recent years.
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell told spfl.co.uk: “The Scottish FA recently published its bespoke women’s football strategy, Accelerate Our Game, and a key pillar of that plan is to take our elite clubs and competitions to the next level. To achieve that we need to optimise the game’s governance and structures and the work undertaken by the Scottish FA, SPFL and SWF, and the clubs within the SWPL, has shown the collective desire to take the game forward.
“With Hampden Park the new home of the Scotland Women’s National Team, and the team playing in front of record crowds, I am delighted that the various constituent parts of the game have come together to agree on a positive route forward for elite women’s football.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Everyone at the SPFL is hugely excited by the prospect of working closely with the SWPL clubs to help increase the competitiveness, profile and income of elite women’s football in Scotland.
“I have been struck by the ambition of all clubs involved to drive up standards, take the game to the next level and increase participation across the sport.
“It is clear to see the many benefits that increased professionalism has brought to women’s football across the world. We believe we are well-placed to add significant value to the game in Scotland in both a sporting and commercial sense.
“Lastly, I would like to send my thanks to everyone at SWF, which deserves huge credit for the way it has progressed the women’s professional game in Scotland in recent times.”
SWF chief executive Aileen Campbell told scotwomensfootball.com: “SWF is committed to driving the women’s and girls’ game in Scotland. We are therefore determined to do everything we can to support the elite game as it transitions to the SPFL.
“With changes at the top level, SWF’s role and function in creating a positive environment for women and girls to play our beautiful game is now more important than ever. We intend and hope that SWF Championship teams will ultimately battle for promotion to SWPL 2, with relegated teams joining the SWF Championship.
“But SWF’s reach extends far beyond the performance arm of women’s football. From children to Championship, we deliver leagues and competitions for all ages and stages across the country. And our vision and aspirations for the game know no limits. We will never rest as we strive to ensure all girls and women know that football is, absolutely, a sport for them.
“Women’s football needs to be visible. If girls can see it, they can be it. And the football they see must represent everything that is great about the sport we love.
“Football can be a huge force for good and we want to maximise its potential to drive positive change across our sport and society. We need to shine a spotlight on player wellbeing, to push for structural change and equality in boardrooms, and to prioritise a respect agenda. SWF stands ready and enthused to support the Scottish football family on that journey.”