The FA has disclosed the 33 teams bidding for a WSL place :
Arsenal Ladies FC, Aston Villa Ladies FC, Birmingham City Ladies FC, Brighton and Hove Albion Women’s FC, Bristol Academy WFC, Charlton Athletic Women’s FC, Chelsea Ladies FC, Colchester Ladies FC, Coventry City Ladies FC, Derby County Ladies FC, Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC, Durham Women’s FC, Everton Ladies FC, Gillingham Ladies FC, Keynsham Town LFC, Leeds United Ladies FC, Leicester City Women’s FC, Lincoln Ladies FC, Liverpool Ladies FC Limited, London Bees WFC (Barnet FC), Manchester City Ladies FC, Millwall Lionesses FC, Milton Keynes Dons Ladies FC, Nottingham Forest Ladies FC, Oxford United WFC, Portsmouth FC Ladies, Reading FC Women, Sheffield FC Ladies, Stoke City Ladies FC, Sunderland Women’s FC, Watford Ladies FC, West Ham United LFC, Yeovil Town Ladies FC
Many questions should arise : How many teams per division. After all it is up to 20 teams maximum, with a maximm of 10 in each division so we could have for example 10/10, 8/10 or 8/8 depending on the bids’ quality.
I personally think 8/10 is a better format if in the promotion/relegation scheme bottom team goes down and second bottom gets a play-off against second team in Div 2.
You can’t have 2 teams going down out of 8 because 14 games season gives too much credit to lucky decisions during games. For example the 2011 turning point was the Birmingham defeat at home to Everton with a Suarez like goal given. teams don’t want and can’t go down on the last day of the season because of unexpected events they cannot control.
I don’t see the points of 10 teams league either besides getting to 16 league games because there is not enough elite players in England to have 10 teams. We have seen Liverpool and Chelsea go abroad to add quality/experience they could not find locally. I actually think in term of elite players 6 teams playing each other twice home and away would do the trick. Around 120 English players is the right figure.
Just as a reminder the 4 criteria for selection the FA WSL
All applying clubs will be marked against the following four areas:
Financial and business management
Commercial sustainability and marketing
Players, support staff and youth development.
You know what you need to do when players is number 4 in the selecting process, show the money first and the rest can follow. What I really hope is the FA wil actually disclose the reason for selecting certain teams and not hide behind secrecy unlike last time as we still do not know how Lincoln and Liverpool managed to get in ahead of better football teams.
My prediction on the 8 Division 1 teams and 10 Division 2 teams based on my gut instinct, I have no clue on the team respective bids as nothing is published of course. I did not look at geography at all, as I don’t even know where some teams are located ( we did not have English geography lessons at school in France :p )
Division 1 : Arsenal, Barnet, Birmingham, Bristol, Chelsea, Liverpool, Lincoln, Manchester City
Division 2 : Brighton, Coventry, Doncaster, Everton, Forest, Gillingham , Leeds, Reading, Sunderland, Watford
As a footnote, I would also have liked to see Cardiff and Glasgow City being allowed to bid but not possible sadly as not affiliated to English FA.