FA WSL to move to a new calendar

16/17: Ladies v Notts County - Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith

Arsenal Ladies’ league season will move to a new calendar in 2017.

The FA Women’s Super League will be played alongside the traditional football calendar, from September until May each season.

Next year, to bridge the gap between the seasons, we will take part in a one-off competition, The FA WSL Spring Series, which will be played from February to May. The competition will see Pedro Martinez Losa’s team take on every other side in the division once.

The Spring Series will also provide competitive playing time for our international players ahead of next summer’s Women’s European Championship, which will be played in the Netherlands.

FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons said: “When we launched the FA WSL in 2011 it was the right decision to play it as a summer league, which has been demonstrated by the competitive, exciting football, growing attendances and player development.

“However, there are still a number of issues holding the league back, such as fixture scheduling and ground availability. We want to keep building on the momentum and growth of the league and we believe now is the right time to change the calendar.

“The move is designed to bring many benefits to the women’s game and we’ve worked closely with our clubs and other stakeholders in making this decision.

“Player welfare is the prime concern of clubs and for us and these changes will allow more structured rest and recovery time, while fixtures will be more regularly structured with less congestion.

“The FA is committed to investing in women’s football and aims to double participation and attendances by 2020, as well as creating the right environment for England to have the best chance of winning the 2023 World Cup and we believe that these changes will help us to further achieve these aims.

“This is a really exciting time for the women’s game and we will work alongside our clubs to ensure we support them in the transition, across areas such as contracts, marketing and fixtures to make sure that it proves a big success.”

The 2016 FA WSL season runs until November.

Following the season, there is an international window in mid-November, after which the players will have a long break before pre-seasons formally start in January.

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