Doncaster Belles have received a major boost with the news that two teams will be promoted from next season’s FAWSL2.
The increase, announced by the FA today, is part of a two-year plan to expand FAWSL 1 from eight to 10 teams.
FAWSL2 will remain a ten-team compeition, with one team from The FA Women’s Premier League to be promoted into the league over the next two seasons.
With Everton relegated from last season’s FAWSL1 - and expected to be strong favourites for an instant return to the top flight - today’s announcement hands managerless Belles a major boost ahead of the new season, which kicks off in March.
Kelly Simmons, FA director of national game and women’s football, said: “After the successful introduction of promotion and relegation this season, we had always planned to increase the number of teams in FA WSL 1.
“This year has arguably been the most competitive FA WSL season to date and promotion and relegation has certainly played a big part in that.
“Increasing the number of promotion spots not only opens up more opportunity for clubs but will also help to drive the standard of FA WSL 2 which can only benefit the women’s game.
“We are looking to do the same in the following season so that FA WSL 1 becomes a 10-team league. This will help to sustain the high quality that the league is known for, providing more high quality fixtures for both our elite players and for fans.
“The introduction of promotion into FA WSL 2 also provides opportunities for strong FA WPL clubs to come through the winter pyramid, which will help to strengthen and enhance the competitiveness of both leagues.”