There’s a real buzz in the air about football in the UK at the moment … and no, it’s not the backlash to ‘the’ refereeing decision in the recent Manchester United v Real Madrid game. It’s the women’s game.

The FA has confirmed that it has received a total of 33 applications from clubs bidding to join (or stay) in the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) in 2014.

The WSL currently features one tier of eight teams but, as part of the FA's five-year plan to develop the women's game, the league will be expanded and split into two leagues (20 sides) with a promotion and relegation system. It is hoped that the new structure will increase competition and grow women’s football in more areas.

Arsenal Ladies’ Stephanie Houghton is positive about the changes.

Speaking exclusively to GiveMeFootball, Houghton said: "My Dad got me into football from a young age by simply playing at home and I started to get more and more interested in it.

"Football has changed massively over the last few years. It is more professional now, in the media more and there are increased opportunities to play and be coached."

Clubs who have entered a bid for the WSL are now being judged by an independent panel against a number of criteria including financial/business management, facilities, development and marketing. A decision is expected to be made in early June.  

The current semi-professional WSL (which includes Arsenal, Birmingham City, Everton, Lincoln, Doncaster Rover Belles, Liverpool, Bristol Academy and Chelsea) has been going since 2011, with Arsenal taking the title two years running. They are also firm favourite for the 2013 league which kicks off on March 23rd.

For a list of clubs who have entered a bid to the WSL, visit their official website by clicking here.

 

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