Football Queensland (FQ) has today confirmed it will introduce sweeping reforms to be implemented progressively across the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland Women’s competitions over the next three years.
“The revised NPL Women’s competition format follows many months of extensive research, analysis, competition review and consultation with our football community through the state-wide Future of Football 2020+ process and review into NPL competitions,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.
A revised competition format for 2021 will see an amendment to the junior and senior age groups, with a key senior age group to change from Under 18 to Under 23 to align with the delivery of improved technical outcomes.
Junior age groups will also be amended, transitioning the current Under 13 and Under 15 age groups to Under 14 and Under 16 from next season to align with a more consistent two-year development split across the cohort.
From 2021, the Junior Girls age groups (U14 and U16) will also be decoupled from the senior NPL Women’s teams, bringing the competition in line with the NPL Men’s and Boys competition structures.
The number of clubs competing in the NPL Women’s in 2021 will briefly increase to 16 as part of the revised NPL Women’s competition structure, with new licences being considered as part of an expressions of interest process for First Grade and Under 23 age groups only.
The 2021 season will be comprised of two competitive frameworks, initially with all 16 clubs playing each other before being separated into two eight-team competitions in the latter half of the season.
The 2022 season will see two separate competitions (NPL Women’s and FQPL Women’s) comprised of eight clubs in each to connect and strengthen the women’s football pyramid.
“Feedback from players, coaches and clubs throughout the NPL Review indicated a strong demand for a two-tier NPL Women’s competition, allowing for promotion and relegation between the two leagues,” Cavallucci said.
“The addition of new NPL Senior Women’s licences next year will allow for a tighter competition from 2022, with an NPL Women’s and second-tier FQPL Women’s league to provide a stronger and more connected elite pathway for South East Queensland’s best female footballers, better preparing our pathways for the legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for clubs who have high performing technical pathways and programs to contribute to the growth of the women’s game here in Queensland.
“NPL Women’s clubs will be required to deliver Girls SAP programs (U10 and U12) to further strengthen the base of the Queensland football pyramid, and to provide more opportunities for women and girls to progress along the talented player pathway that will back fill the NPL Under 14 age group in 2022 and the Under 16 age group in 2023 for new NPL Women’s clubs.”
Clubs interested in applying for an NPL Women’s licence can email NPLLicencing@footballqueensland.com.au to obtain the information and application pack.
Applications will be accepted until close of business on Thursday, 5 November 2020.
The FQ Technical team will assess all applications and provide recommendations for selection, with the successful clubs to be confirmed next month.