The Football Association has launched the first-ever semi professional league for women in England as it looks create a self sustaining professional women’s game.
The FA Women’s Super League (WSL) will be played through the summer with a broadcast deal in place with ESPN to show highlights as well as Continental Tyres and Yorkshire Building Society confirmed as lead partners as the FA looks to move towards a professional women’s game.
Commenting on the launch FA chairman David Bernstein said: "This is a true landmark in the women’s game, a real opportunity for it to take off in England.
"The launch of this league together with England competing in the World Cup in Germany makes for an exciting summer of women’s football ahead."
As well as number of partners on board the FA has created a dedicated website, www.fawsl.com, for the league as well as separate websites for each of the member clubs offering further revenue generating opportunities.
Kelly Simmons, FA head of national game, added: "Football is the most popular team sport for girls to play and we have over a million regular players throughout the country. What has been missing in the sport until now was a clear pathway of progression for young girls who are good enough to play professionally and earn a living doing so.
"We believe the league will encourage many more young girls to get into and stay in football where they can see an elite structure at the very top of the game and the role models to inspire them."
Arsenal, Birmingham, Bristol, Chelsea, Doncaster, Everton, Liverpool and Lincoln make up the eight clubs participating in the inaugural season.