England Football Association have announced the termination of the 2019-20 Women Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship seasons, with immediate effect.
This decision comes after weeks of discussions between teams and the FA to identify the ‘most suitable and appropriate way to conclude the 2019-20 season…’ and has been described as ‘in the best interest of the women’s game.’
The FA believes that this decision will allow the clubs and both leagues to focus planning and preparation on next season when football can safely return, as football continues to grapple with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic which halted this season in March.
WSL and the Championship have also discussed various recommendations on how to best conclude this season in order to ‘determine the most appropriate sporting outcome’ in regards to the league tables.
Those recommendations will include identifying the entries for next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League, based on current standings from this season with no further comment until FA Board have met to discuss the recommendations and options.
The FA is also committed to the welfare of clubs and players as ‘our primary concern throughout this process’ involving a thorough examination of logistical, operational and financial issues that the sport currently faces.
What does this mean for clubs?
The decision to terminate this season now throws up various issues because there are so many scenarios in which this season could be settled.
One obvious scenario could see the current standings declared as final with Manchester City crowned WSL champions for a second time, whilst Liverpool would be relegated with Aston Villa promoted in their place as Championship champions.
Another scenario could be to null and void this season or declare champions without relegation, although the latter scenario could yet promote Villa and have a 12 team WSL next season with two going down is a possibility that could be considered.
There however is a more controversial approach of using Points Per Game (PPG) approach, with option of weighted PPG or unweighted PPG which would crown Chelsea as WSL winners ahead of Man City and see Liverpool relegated under either PPG scenario.
Vila would meanwhile be promoted from Championship under either PPG approach, whilst Charlton could be relegated to Women’s National League if relegation is permitted between Championship and National League, of which the latter was voided last month.
Whichever approach is chosen by the FA Board will be viewed as controversial given the various factors at stake for many teams.
‘The right decision for the safety of everyone involved.’
Manchester United manager, Casey Stoney MBE was amongst the first managers to react to the termination of this season, describing the news as ‘disappointing’ but ‘the right decision for the safety of everyone involved.’
Stoney meanwhile is already looking ahead to next season, saying;
“Our focus now moves to our development for next season, which we have been continuously planning for throughout the year, and we can’t wait to be back on the pitch again when it is safe.
The Man Utd Women boss also spoke of how ‘proud’ she was of her players and staff after a strong debut WSL season, especially after adapting with ‘determination and drive…’ to training away from the club when football entered lockdown.
West Ham manager, Matt Beard meanwhile posted his thoughts on Twitter, praising everyone from players to fans for their effort this season.
No one wanted the @BarclaysFAWSL & @FAWC_ to end this way! I would like to thank @westhamwomen players and staff for their all they have done this season! Also a big shout out to our fans! As always you have been incredible! Stay safe everyone & see u soon! ⚒ pic.twitter.com/cVWtLBptnD
— Matthew Beard (@mattbeard02) May 25, 2020
Lockdown meanwhile seems to have been a drag for Chelsea goalkeeper, Carly Telford who thanked fans for the memories of this season, or rather next season if we have found a way to fast forward a season.
— Carly Telford (@carlytelford1) May 25, 2020
Telford however soon corrected her error as she described it as a ‘long year/season.’
19/20 even 😂😂 been a long year/season 😁
— Carly Telford (@carlytelford1) May 25, 2020
United’s Lauren James meanwhile believes that the health of the public is more important, despite her disappointment at the end to this season.
Disappointed that the seasons finished but people’s health is more important. Thanks to our fans for your support throughout each week! Stay safe and See you all next season 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/rL1CtQQDNi
— Lauren James (@laurenjamess22) May 25, 2020
How should WSL and Women's Championship be resolved? Total Voters: 1
How should WSL and Women's Championship be resolved?
Total Voters: 1