The FA have listened to Lewes FC and have agreed to unite the Women’s Premier League with the separately run Women’s Super League.
From the 2015/16 season there would be one automatic promotion spot into the WSL via a two-leg play-off between the winners of the WPL South and North divisions.
Lewes director of ladies’ football Jacquie Agnew and other board members from the East Sussex club have spearheaded a year-long national campaign to bring this unification about.
Agnew reckons the change will be good for the game.
She said: “WPL players now have their ambition back and can once again set their sights on playing at the highest level with their own clubs and the clubs themselves can start building a sustainable future in the knowledge that promotion into the WSL will be based on sporting merit.”
The FA said they will work very closely with all clubs to make sure that those who have the ambition of playing in the WSL are ready to do so when the time comes.
“The challenge now is to align the WSL and WPL seasons since the former is a summer league and the latter a winter league. The 2015/16 WPL League season will need to be brought forward to the beginning of August and some games moved to midweek along with cup matches.”
Agnew explained that at the heart of the debate is how to ensure that there are appropriate pitches and facilities to support all 92 women’s clubs.
Those clubs, like Lewes, who are unified with their parent club and play at the main home ground, will be calling for the mid-season break to occur from mid May to mid July as stadium pitches are being rested. Many potential football pitches are unavailable during mid-summer.
She added: “The new league committee, along the FA Board have a lot of work to do to bring 72 clubs together to make the newly constituted FAWPL a strong, sustainable league which is fit for purpose both in the short and long term.”