FA Women's Championship: New name chosen for England's second tier

Doncaster Rovers Belles
Doncaster Rovers Belles are currently top of the table in England's second tier

Women's Super League 2 will be renamed as the FA Women's Championship from next season, as part of a restructure of English women's leagues.

The new full-time WSL 1 will become the standalone FA Women's Super League.

The regionally split third tier, known as the Premier League, will be renamed as the FA Women's National League North and South.

The fourth tier, which is divided into four regions, will also adopt the FA Women's National League branding.

The new names come after a period of research into branding commissioned by the Football Association, who run the women's leagues in England.

It will see tiers one and two separated in terms of branding for the first time since the WSL expanded to include WSL 2 in 2014.

The changes bring an end to the era of the Women's Premier League, which began in 1992 and was originally the name of the top flight, before the WSL was introduced in 2011.

Current league nameNew name from 2018-19 onwards
Tier One: Women's Super League OneFA Women's Super League
Tier Two: Women's Super League TwoFA Women's Championship
Tier Three: Women's Premier League Northern / Southern DivisionFA Women's National League North / South
Tier Four: Women's Premier League Division One [four regions]FA Women's National League One [four regions]

Following the initial, closed licence application period, 10 clubs have earned a place in WSL 1, but that number may rise to up to 14 once the second phase of applications opens to external clubs.

There will also be up to five additional spots available in the second tier, after seven sides successfully retained their second-tier status, with a maximum of 12 places in next season's new Women's Championship.

The following teams have already been awarded licences for the top two tiers next term:

  • Tier One, FA WSL: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Chelsea Ladies, Everton Ladies, Liverpool Ladies, Manchester City, Reading Women, Yeovil Town.
  • Tier Two, FA Women's Championship: Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Sheffield FC Ladies, Tottenham Hotspur.

External clubs will have the chance to apply to fill the remaining slots from March, with the successful applicants due to be revealed by the summer. Clubs including West Ham have already signalled their intention to apply.

Of those five remaining second-tier slots, one place will be held for the winners of the 2017-18 third-tier play-off, who would traditionally earn promotion by right, provided that the team in questions meets the relevant licence criteria.

Women's Premier League South side Crystal Palace Ladies have announced that they will be among the teams applying for a place in the Championship.

You can now add WSL 1 notifications for line-ups, goals, kick-off, half-time and results in the BBC Sport app. Visit this page to find out how to sign-up.

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