An introduction to the FA Women’s Premier League

Wednesday 13 Aug 2014
Carla Ward of Sheffield FC

As we prepare for the new look FA Women’s Premier League kick-off, here is everything you need to know about the competition.

A Short History

The new FA Women’s Premier League (FA WPL) is run by the Football Association and forms the third and fourth tiers of women’s football pyramid in England. 

Inaugurated on 20 June 2014, the league incorporates the former Women’s Premier League and Combination Leagues.  It is formed of six regional divisions, two Premier and four Division 1s.

From its foundation in 1992-93 until 2012–13, the Women’s Premier League was run in a pyramid format, with the National Division at the top, and the Northern and Southern divisions running underneath that.  Each season, the regional league champions were promoted to the National division.

The National division had originally been the top tier of women's football, but after the creation of the FA Women's Super League (FA WSL) in 2011, it became the third tier. Following the 2012–13 season, the National Division was removed as The FA introduced the second tier to the FA WSL for the 2014 campaign.  The four Combination Leagues were founded in 1998 and maintain their position as the fourth tier of the women’s game as the FA WPL Division 1s.

Aston Villa Ladies celebrate winning the FA WPL Cup

Aston Villa Ladies celebrate winning the FA WPL Cup


The League and Cup Competitions

The FA WPL campaign runs from August until May.

Every season, FA WPL clubs compete in a knockout FA WPL Cup competition. A Plate competition was introduced from the start of the 2014-15 season.

Twenty nine of the FA WPL clubs also compete in a reserves section made up of three divisions South, Midlands and North.  The reserve reams have their own Reserve League Cup competition too.

Running of the FA WPL

The FA WPL is managed by the League Management Committee.  This is made up of an elected Chair, vice-chair, treasurer, league development officer, facilities officer, marketing & communications officer, discipline officer and three club representatives for the Northern and Southern Divisions, Midlands Division 1 / Northern Division 1 and South East Division 1 / South West Division 1.

The FA has hired a referees appointment officer and a league secretary and will provide administrative support for the league through the women’s leagues officer who works within the Women’s Leagues and Competitions department.  Two members of the FA Women’s Football Board are nominated to sit on The FA WPL management committee to provide league guidance and support.

The FA WPL receives an annual grant from The FA in order to deliver against a submitted and approved league development plan.

By FA Staff