SWPL confirms new two-tier league format from 2022/23 season

SWPL1 to expand to 12 teams to join with SPFL

The Scottish Women’s Premier League has confirmed its new two-tier league competition format ahead of elite women’s football becoming the responsibility of the Scottish Professional Football League from next season.

SWPL1 will become a 12-team division from 2022/23, with the top two clubs from this season’s Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 (SWPL2) being promoted.

The SWPL1 will also introduce a split next season after 22 games, with the top six playing each other once home and away, and the same also happening in the bottom six.

Clubs have also agreed there will be no relegation from the SWPL1 this season, ahead of the new 32-game format, as part of a new era for the women’s game in Scotland.

The update follows the announcement on 15 February that the SPFL will assume responsibility of elite women’s football in Scotland from this summer.

From season 2022/23, the team finishing bottom of SWPL1 will be automatically relegated and the winner of SWPL2 will gain automatic promotion.

In addition, the club that finishes 11th in SWPL1 will play the team that finishes 2nd in SWPL2 in a single play-off tie, at a neutral venue, to confirm who will take the final position in the SWPL1.

The SWPL2 will grow to an eight-club division, with each club playing a total of 28 matches, with each club playing home and away on two occasions.

At the end of the 2021/22 season, the winners of the Championship North and Championship South will both be promoted, alongside the winner of a play-off between the two 2nd placed clubs in the two divisions.

From season 2022/23, the team finishing bottom of SWPL2 will be automatically relegated, while the team finishing 7th will enter into a single-legged play-off at a neutral venue for the right to play in SWPL2 the following season.

Fiona McIntyre, interim managing director of the SWPL, said: “This is a really exciting time for the elite women’s game, and it is great to confirm our new competition format.

“I have been working closely with SWPL clubs to agree the best way forward for SWPL1 and SWPL2 and I firmly believe the new league set-up will further elevate the game in Scotland.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “Women’s football has been growing at an incredible rate in recent years, and I am confident this new structure will play its part in taking the game to the next level.

“Everyone at the SPFL is proud of the work that has gone into this new set-up and we look forward to continuing to support the clubs in increasing the profile and competitiveness of the game in Scotland.”

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