SPFL to take charge of Scottish Women’s Premier League in bold bid to boost profile and finances

The SPFL is set to take charge of the elite women’s game in Scotland in a bid to take it to a new level.

A majority of the 17 SWPL clubs have voted to leave the current SWF setup and join forces with the mens game under the SPFL umbrella ahead of next season.

As part of the switch a fresh two-tier league format would be put in place while a brand new League Cup would be introduced.

Glasgow City have won the last 14 titles but Rangers are in pole position this season closely followed by City and Celtic in the 10-team top flight. Dundee United lead the second division.

The number of clubs and finer details of the new format are to be agreed over the coming weeks while an independent chair and managing director will be recruited to drive the new body forward.

SPFL chief 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.”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – APRIL 21: Rangers’ Brogan Hay (left) is tackled by Keeva Keenan during a SWPL match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park, on April 21, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

The announcement comes after months of talks between clubs, the SFA, SPFL and SWF about how to build upon the progress that the Scottish women’s game has made in recent years.

Glasgow City have been regular participants in the UEFA Women’s Champions League – reaching the quarter finals in 2015.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “The SFA 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 optimize the game’s governance and structures and the work undertaken by the Scottish FA, SPFL and SWF, and the clubs within the SWPL, you have 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. ”

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SWF chief executive Aileen Campbell said: “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.

“Football can be a huge force for good and we want to maximize 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 prioritize a respect agenda. SWF stands ready and enthused to support the Scottish football family on that journey.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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