Football Victoria Approves New Women’s Division For 2020 Season

Football Victoria (FV) today announced the introduction of a new women’s division commencing in season 2020.

The new division will be positioned between the current State League 1 competition and the National Premier League Victoria Women’s top tier, the NPLW.

The move forms part of the recommendations recently released by FV following a comprehensive review into the Women and Girls’ competition structures for football in Victoria.

The competition review was conducted by independent sports consultancy firm, Sports Business Partners (SBP), who worked in collaboration with FV to undertake a thorough stakeholder engagement process led by a dedicated and independent Review Steering Committee.

One of the review’s key recommendations was to establish a new statewide division of competition for senior women between the NPLW and State League 1, to be launched by either 2020 or 2021 (pending majority consensus with clubs). The recommendation also stated that:

  • The new league be made up of the top State League 1 clubs from the South-East and North-West divisions, and that these clubs meet both on and off-field standards which reflect the increase in standard from State League 1; and
  • Promotion and relegation between the new competition and State League 1 commences at the end of the first full season of competition.

Considering the recommendation, FV sent a survey to all women’s State League clubs to determine their position on the proposed new structure.

FV requested that each club submit its vote, clearly stating which was their preferred option for when the recommended new division structure should start.

The survey was distributed to 114 clubs and almost 84% of those who voted preferred to commence the new division from 2020.

61 clubs voted to commence the new division from 2020. 12 clubs voted to commence the new division from 2021. 41 clubs did not submit a vote.

The new women’s division is aligned to FV’s overall strategic direction and commitment to growing investment and participation in female football across Victoria.

The new division will be made up of the following 10 teams.

  • Boroondara Eagles FC
  • Casey Comets FC
  • Eltham Redbacks FC
  • Galaxy United FC
  • Melbourne Knights FC
  • Melbourne Uni SC
  • Preston Lions FC
  • South Yarra FC
  • Southern United FC
  • Whitehorse United FC

The new division clubs and the State League 1 clubs will be required to fill a senior and reserve team.

All other State League structures will be confirmed in the upcoming weeks including the promotion and relegation rules. State League 1 division will also be made up of 10 teams for both North/West and South/East. 

The NPLW top tier will comprise 8 teams for season 2020 and will include 21-games, plus finals.

There will be no promotion into the NPLW tier of competition until the completion of the second full season of the new division, as per recommendation 2.5.

The Women & Girls’ competition review’s recommendations provide a clear integrated mechanism between all tiers of the women’s game.

The integrated structure is currently being worked on, including the promotion and relegation criteria, the optimal number of teams in each division for season 2021, the optimal model for junior girls’ competitions and talented female player pathways in Victoria, with a view of announcing these changes for season 2021. 

FV Board Director and Chair of Football Committee, Sezar Jakupi, said he was excited by the prospect of the new division in 2020.  

“The clubs overwhelmingly voted for the new division to be introduced from next season. This is an exciting change for women’s football in Victoria. The proposal has been recommended to allow for promotion and relegation to occur into the top tier of competition and create a more defined second state-based women’s tier,” Mr Jakupi said.

The report’s recommendation will now move to the next phase of work to be completed, including finalisation of the proposed teams in each league structure and the minimum standards required for the new division.

FV expects the naming of the new division, State League structures, the teams involved and promotion/relegation rules to be announced in coming weeks. The full report can be found here.