On Monday, May 25, 2020 the governing bodies of the Football Association Women’s Super League and Football Association Woman’s Championship announced the cancellation of both leagues 2020 season. The announcement stated the decision was not an easy one and was made for a variety of reasons connected to the coronavirus pandemic.
This decision marks the first time that both these leagues have been canceled during a season. These two leagues are also the first top-tier football leagues in the United Kingdom to be canceled.
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FA Women’s Super League
The Football Association Women’s Super League also known as the Berkeley FA Women’s Super League was established in 2010. The Women Super League is the highest tier women’s football league in England. It was created to replace the FA Women’s Premier League National Division as the top women’s football league in England.
The league was originally supposed to start the year it was founded but due to an economic downturn was postponed. Eight teams participated the inaugural first season in 2011 but none were relegated to the lower division that year. It would be two years before promotion and relegation system was applied to the league.
Since its inception it has grown to the point where it currently now has 12 teams included in the league. Despite having originally played summers the leak currently uses a winter schedule set between September to May.
FA Women’s Championship
The Football Association Women’s Championship was established in 2014. Originally the second half of the Women’s Super League it is second highest women’s football league in England. This was done so it could replace the Football Association Women’s Premier League National Division which ended in the 2013 season.
The league originally called simply Women’s Super League 2 started out with nine teams specifically for league and one relegated from the Women’s Super League. As the Women’s Super League expanded its teams so too did the Women’s Super League 2 with the current number sitting at 11. As with its original counterpart the league used to have a summer season until 2016 when it switched to a winter season played from September to May.
The league was not renamed to the Football Associations Women’s Championship until the 2019 season, most likely to avoid confusion between the leagues. When promotion and relegation was added to the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship League. It was set up so that the top team from championship was promoted into the super league. The reverse was also true for the super league with its lowest ranked team being relegated to championship.
Effects of The Coronavirus
When the coronavirus pandemic led to the decision by the football associations of England to temporarily postpone all football seasons this included Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship League. At the time of the postponement both leagues had played about 70% of their seasons.
While no direct information is available it can be assumed that if any members of the clubs involved had the coronavirus they went into self-quarantine at that time. The biggest fallout from this decision is that the last fourth of the season for both leagues remained on played. Which means that the current point ranked positions of the teams have not changed since.
On 25 May the Football Association decided to cancel the remainder of both leagues 2020 season. The decision was made after asking the clubs involved if they felt they could meet the financial and logistical requirements in order to complete the season. It appears that the majority of the clubs answered in the negative.
Another reason given for the cancellation was the concern for the safety of everyone involved in the clubs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic still being a major health concern despite guidelines being in place to ensure the help of every club member. Many of the clubs have stated that their focus now has become preparing for next season when they can hopefully return to the pitch.
This decision however has led to additional problems for the governing board, specifically promotion and relegation. An example of this in the Women’s Super League would be seen in the rankings of Manchester City and Chelsea. Manchester City sits ranked one point higher than Chelsea in the current stats.
On the other hand, Chelsea has played one more game in the season then Manchester City. If the governing body of the Football Association decides to use the current points on a home game versus away game basis then Chelsea will move ahead of Manchester City in the rankings. As it currently stands the top ranked team in the Women’s Championship, Aston Vila, has earned enough points to advance to the Women’s Super League.
While the bottom ring team of the women super league, Liverpool, has arguably not done bad enough to warrant relegation. So now the Football Association governing body is faced with the decision on should they promote and relegate, just promote, or do nothing. If the first then an argument could be made that the decision was not being an accurate reflection of what the teams were capable of.
If the second then they find themselves in a situation next year with an extra team in the Women’s Super League. Arguably their best decision would appear to be the third, doing nothing, essentially treated as if the 2020 season never happened. Whatever the decision the focus has now shifted from the canceled 2020 two preparations for the upcoming 2021 season.
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