FA announces full-time English women's top flight

The English Football Association announced a major revamp of women's football on Wednesday, with a top tier of 14 full-time teams planned for the start of next season in order to boost standards.

The current Women's Super League was set up in 2011 and a second tier, Super League Two, was added in 2014. There are 10 teams in each but several are still part-time.   -  AP

The English Football Association announced a major revamp of women's football on Wednesday, with a top tier of 14 full-time teams planned for the start of next season in order to boost standards.

The current Women's Super League was set up in 2011 and a second tier, Super League Two, was added in 2014. There are 10 teams in each but several are still part-time.

Following a review of the structure, the FA now wants to make a clear distinction between full-time and part-time teams in order to raise standards and boost the popularity of women's football.

Below the new top flight will be a national league of up to 12 semi-professional sides, with the current FA Women's Premier League sitting beneath that in tiers three and four as regional competitions featuring promotion and relegation.

The revamp comes at a time of uncertainty at the top of the sport after England Women's manager Mark Sampson was sacked last week for "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" in a previous role as a club manager.

In a statement, the FA's head of women's leagues and competitions Katie Brazier said: "Providing an elite performance environment will produce more and better players, increase the interest and excitement via more competitive leagues, attract a greater number of fans and, in turn, deliver improved commercial viability for clubs and the leagues."

Reigning Women's Super League champion Chelsea started its 2017-18 campaign on Sunday with a 6-0 win over Bristol City, while Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Sunderland also gained victories over the opening weekend.

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