The cancellation and curtailment of the ‘non-elite’ levels of the women’s football pyramid have been hugely frustrating for so many clubs within the country. Most famously, Ipswich Town, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers all sat top of their respective divisions and would have most likely remained there had the seasons concluded. Those are just three of the most high profile examples, with many other clubs in similar positions.
All clubs participating in Tiers 3 to 6 (inclusive) of the Women’s Pyramid were permitted to apply for upward movement, with successful clubs moving into the league or division immediately above the Tier in which they currently operate.
As a result, FA Women’s National League Northern Premier side, Sunderland, and FA Women’s National League Southern Premier side, Watford, have been successful in applying for upward movement and will compete in the FA Women’s Championship next season.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighouse Town will move up into Tier 3 (FA WNL Northern Premier), along with Southampton FC and Ipswich Town (FA WNL Southern Premier).
The results are:
Promoted to the FAWC – Watford and Sunderland
Promoted to FAWNL North – Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighouse Town
Promoted to FAWNL South – Ipswich Town and Southampton
Promoted to FAWNL Div One North – Alnwick Town and FC United of Manchester
Promoted to FAWNL Div One Midlands – Peterborough United and Leek Town
Promoted to FAWNL Div One South-East – Harlow Town and Queens Park Rangers
Promoted to FAWNL Div One South-West – AFC Bournemouth and Portishead Town
Promoted to North West Regional Premier Div – AFC Darwen *
Promoted to North East Regional Premier Div – Sunderland West End and Wakefield Trinity
Promoted to West Midlands Regional Premier Div – Tamworth and Stourbridge
Promoted to Eastern Region Premier Division – King’s Lynn Town and Millwall Lionesses**
Promoted to London & South East Regional Premier Div – New London Lionesses and Worthing
Promoted to Southern Regional Premier Div – Abingdon Town***
Promoted to South West Regional Premier Div – AFC St Austell, Sherborne Town and Forest Green Rovers****
* Only applicant therefore still one vacancy
** Millwall have also had an application for sideways movement approved so will play in the London & South East Regional Premier Division
*** Only vacancy due to the Southern Region League running one division at Tier 6
**** 3 vacancies due to the South West Regional League running 3 divisions at Tier 6
Applications were marked against a criteria weighted 75% on-field and 25% off-field. The on-field criteria considered aspects such as points per game, cup performances and goal difference, across the last two seasons. The off-field section marked clubs on areas such as club structure, workforce and facilities. Clubs applying to move into the FA Women’s Championship, also had to demonstrate that they would be able to meet the required licence criteria.
Clubs were recently informed of the outcome of their applications and successful clubs will now be preparing during the off-season ahead of the 2021/2022 season.
Decisions on Promotion Pool applications (movement from Tier 7 to Tier 6) and other movements within the Women’s Football Pyramid will be made shortly and confirmed to clubs, allowing full league allocations to be confirmed in due course.
I appreciate that not all clubs will be satisfied with this outcome and will believe that they are also deserving of promotion. While these clubs will have good reason to believe that, sadly there were always going to be clubs that were left disappointed, and overall I can’t really argue with the decisions made. The upcoming season will hopefully see no further interruptions to the sport and we can get back to traditional promotion and relegation based on the outcome of a completed league season.