CYMRU DOMESTIC FEATURE
CYMRU DOMESTIC FEATURE
The Swans will now compete in the UEFA Women's Champions League next season, and it is a season that will mark the beginning of a new era for the domestic women's game with a re-structure of Tiers 1 & 2.
The re-structure was implemented following a full review of the pyramid in 2020, which included consultation with clubs, players, leagues and officials at all levels. The outcome highlighted key changes required in the top two tiers of the pyramid whilst also addressing the significant gap between U16s and senior football. The new pyramid structure includes eight teams in Tier 1 and the introduction of a new regional Tier 2 league in the North and South, also with eight in each league and a new U19s league in north and south Wales.
To determine which clubs would take their place in these new leagues, the FAW oversaw an open application process that involved two stages. The first was the initial licence award where clubs provided evidence to show that they met the minimum criteria for each level. “It’s been inspiring to see the level of work clubs have put into their application,” explained Lowri Roberts, FAW’s Head of Women’s Football. “We’ve seen a real shift in mindset from the clubs in how they are developing elite environments for players and how they are building for a sustainable future.
“Through implementing an open application process for entry into the new leagues, a club’s place was not solely down to sporting merit but also robust club structures. It has made clubs review their entire structure, playing pathways and the provision they provide players. As a result, all clubs will be collectively striving to continuously improve standards in a competitive environment.”
Andrew Howard, FAW Head of Competitions, added: “Throughout this process we have seen clubs securing significant investment into their women’s programmes and strong commitments in terms of resources being made available within the clubs, from appointing full time staff to long term partnership agreements. Clubs should be very proud of what they have achieved off the field over the last year and we look forward to this exciting new chapter for women’s domestic football in Wales.”