West Ham United have been accepted into the new FA Women’s Super League while Manchester United, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Lewes, and FA Women’s Premier League champions Charlton Athletic have all been accepted into the new FA Women’s Championship.
There’s no room for Sunderland Ladies, who drop out of the top two tiers, while Southampton is also a shock omission after the club applied alongside Manchester United earlier this year for a spot in the second tier.
It means a lopsided Tier 1 of just 11 teams, three short of the number The FA wanted when they opened up the bidding in September last year, while Tier 1 has hit its target of 12 teams, despite leaving many disappointed.
It also means Watford and Oxford United drop out alongside Sunderland as the restructure hits hard three teams who it was known were under financial pressure before this morning’s announcement.
Yeovil Town, after undergoing a public fundraising to campaign to help their cause, have retained their spot in Tier 1 and Millwall have also retained their place in Tier 2 after almost falling into administration at the end of the current season.
Alongside Brighton, who were accepted at the first round of announcements earlier in the season, West Ham United are the only other side to make the step up to the top tier.
Manchester United, to be managed by Casey Stoney, will have to earn promotion this coming season in order to join the top sides and it’s understood the club will confirm their management plans imminently now that the announcement is done.
For four more clubs it’s jubilation after they were accepted into the expanded FA Women’s Championship. Leicester City, with strong backing from the men’s side, have been accepted alongside Sunday’s crowned FA WPL champions Charlton Athletic, managed by Riteesh Mishra.
Lewes, who became the first club in 2017 to pay both their men’s and women’s players the same money, have also beaten Premier League sides such as Crystal Palace and Southampton to a well-earned place while Tier 4 side Sheffield United make the step up two tiers under new manager Carla Ward.
The club, now the second with the Sheffield name to gain a license, have plans to move into a new stadium of their own for the 2019/20 season, making them just one of a few clubs to use their own facilities within the top two tiers.
Unfortunately, it’s bad news for Sunderland, who drop out of the top tiers after gaining promotion to the old FA WSL 1 at the end of the 2015 season.
A proud producer of England players including Carly Telford, Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Demi Stokes, Lucy Bronze, and Beth Mead, the bid from Sunderland wasn’t sufficient enough to earn them a license and they will now likely drop into the FA Women’s Premier League.
They’ll be joined outside the top two tiers by previous FA WSL 2 sides Oxford United and Watford. Both clubs were under financial pressure after not initially bidding for a license in the first round of applications but both did put their names into the hat in March of this year.
Watford, in particular, lost several players and their manager, Keith Boanas, when it was initially announced they wouldn’t bid for a license and it appears the club failed to make up the time in order to retain their place for next season.