The Women’s Super League (WSL) will keep their current format regarding promotion and relegation.

The Football Association (FA) currently run the top women’s division in England and the second-tier WSL Championship.

Under current rules, clubs that win the Championship are given promotion and replace the teams that finish bottom of the WSL.

These two leagues will be run by an independent group by the start of next season. The organization, temporarily called NewCo, will lead the leagues. Nikki Doucet, formally with Nike and Citigroup, was recently brought in as chief executive of NewCo.

There were previously rumors that the new formation of the women’s leagues would result in a closed league format. This was apparently an idea lead by Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy. The Spurs exec, however, was not the only official pondering the switch. Levy and other team leaders essentially asserted that teams would likely invest more in women’s teams if they knew the clubs would remain in the top flight.

The WSL, unlike the NWSL, will remain an open league

Despite the rumors of change, Doucet has now revealed that the WSL and WSL Championship will keep their current format. “We are for promotion and relegation, 100 per cent,” Doucet recently declared. “That’s part of the proposal of NewCo and what all 24 clubs signed up for. It is not a closed league.”

Daniel Levy had been championing a breakaway group of women’s teams, which would not have utilized promotion and relegation
Daniel Levy had been championing a breakaway group of women’s teams, which would not have utilized promotion and relegation

Daniel Levy had been championing a breakaway group of women’s teams, which would not have utilized promotion and relegation

The move to keep the current format in place will be widely supported by English soccer fans. On the other hand, the topic of promotion and relegation has been of intense debate for years here in the United States. The National Women’s Soccer League, like Major League Soccer is currently a fixed league. As such, lower level teams don’t receive reward for their success.

While many soccer fans here Stateside want to implement the system, it does not appear likely to be coming anytime soon. Unsurprisingly, money is ultimately a significant reason for the lack of promotion and relegation in the the U.S.

Broadcasting negotiations continue as league sets to breakaway from FA

Along with declaring her support for promotion and relegation, Doucet also touched on broadcasting partnerships. The WSL currently has media agreements in place with Sky Sports and BBC. However, these deals will expire at the end of the current season. The outgoing contracts are reportedly worth around $10 million per year.

“Reach and revenue is the thing that we’re trying to figure out,” Doucet stated on the current round of negotiations. “I think, more than anything, it should just be as easy as possible for fans to be able to watch the league or the team or the player that they want to watch. How we can do that is what we’re exploring.”

Timing of the current broadcasting talks come as the two women’s leagues are set to move away from the FA. This breakaway has propelled rumors that the WSL may now not have to adhere to current blackout rules. The women’s league currently has rules in place blocking live Saturday broadcasts between 3PM-5PM in England and Scotland.

English Women’s soccer has experienced significant growth in recent years. The nation’s recent triumph at the 2022 Women’s Euros has certainly helped propel interest in the sport. However, the club level has also felt a boom as well. In fact, Arsenal women’s team previously broke the WSL attendance record multiple times and recently announced the fastest-selling match in the division’s history.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images : IMAGO / Action Plus.