FA Women's Championship

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FA Women's Championship
FA Women's Championship.png
First season2014
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toWomen's Super League
Relegation toNone (2014–2017)
National League North
National League South
Domestic cup(s)Women's FA Cup
League cup(s)FA Women's League Cup
Current championsLiverpool (1st title)
Most championshipsAston Villa, Sunderland, Reading, Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Manchester United, Leicester City, Liverpool (1 title each)
Current: 2022–23 Women's Championship

The Women's Championship, currently known as the Barclays Women's Championship (BWC) for sponsorship reasons, is the second-highest division of women's football in England. The division was established in 2014 as the FA Women's Super League 2 (WSL 2).

WSL 2 replaced the previous level 2 division, the FA Women's Premier League (WPL) National Division, which ended after the 2012–13 season. The WPL's last national division champions, Sunderland A.F.C. Women, were not promoted and also became the first winners of WSL 2 in the 2014 season. In addition to Sunderland, other WPL clubs that joined WSL 2 in 2014 were Watford and Aston Villa.

From 2014 to 2016, WSL 2 ran a summer-based season calendar before reverting to the winter season in 2017–18, the same as WSL 1.

FA WSL 2 was renamed the Women's Championship prior to the 2018–19 season.[1]


Sunderland AFC Ladies won the FA WSL 2 in 2014

For the 2014 season, the FA Women's Super League was expanded to create a second division with nine new teams added and one team being relegated from the WSL 1. WSL 1 remained as eight teams, with one new team inserted, with the WSL 2 having ten teams.[2][3][4][5]

The new WSL 1 licence was awarded to Manchester City in 2014. Doncaster Rovers Belles were relegated to WSL 2, with nine new licences awarded to London Bees, Durham, Aston Villa, Millwall Lionesses, Yeovil Town, Reading, Sunderland, Watford, and Oxford United.[6] Doncaster Belles appealed against their demotion, but were unsuccessful.[7]

In December 2014, the FA WSL announced a two-year plan to expand WSL 1 from an eight to ten-team league. Two teams would be promoted from WSL 2, while one team would be relegated to WSL 2.[8][9] Also, for the first time, a team would earn promotion to WSL 2 from the Women's Premier League (now National League), effectively connecting the WSL to the rest of the English women's football pyramid.[10]

This left WSL 1 with nine teams and WSL 2 with ten teams for the 2016 season, and with the process repeated the following year, both WSL 1 and WSL 2 consisted of ten teams each for the 2017–18 season.[8] In addition to being able to prove their financial solvency, clubs applying for entry to the WSL had to show they would attract an average of 350 spectators in 2016, increasing to at least 400 in 2017.[11]

FA WSL 2 was renamed the Women's Championship prior to the 2018–19 season.[1]

In May 2020 the Championship season was halted due to the covid-19 pandemic.[12]


The following twelve clubs are competing in the 2021–22 season.


Unless noted, only teams in first were promoted to the FA WSL.
Year Winner Runners-up Third Top scorers Goals
2014 Sunderland Doncaster Rovers Belles Reading Fran Kirby (Reading) 24
2015 Reading Doncaster Rovers Belles p Everton Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (Doncaster Rovers Belles) 20
2016 Yeovil Town Bristol City p Everton Iniabasi Umotong (Oxford United)
Jo Wilson (London Bees)
Spring Series[a] Everton Doncaster Rovers Belles Millwall Lionesses Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (Doncaster Rovers Belles) 9
2017–18 Doncaster Rovers Belles r Brighton & Hove Albion p Millwall Lionesses Jessica Sigsworth (Doncaster Rovers Belles) 15
2018–19 Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur p Charlton Athletic Jessica Sigsworth (Manchester United) 17
2019–20 Aston Villa Sheffield United Durham Katie Wilkinson (Sheffield United) 15
2020–21 Leicester City Durham Liverpool Katie Wilkinson (Sheffield United) 19
2021–22 Liverpool London City Lionesses Bristol City Abi Harrison (Bristol City) 17


p.^ Second place team was also promoted
r.^ Withdrew from league and relegated
London Bees v Millwall Lionesses, 15 April 2017


In the 2014 season there were 251 fans at a WSL 2 match on average. In 2015 it increased to 341 with thirteen matches reaching attendances of more than 500 spectators.[13]


  1. ^ The shortened 2017 edition was known as the Spring Series and ran from February to May 2017.


  1. ^ a b FA Women's Championship: New name chosen for England's second tier BBC Sport, 26 February 2018
  2. ^ "FA WSL 2014: Applications". thefa.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  3. ^ "FA WSL 2014-2018 brochure". thefa.com. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. ^ "The FA WSL Club Development Plan". thefa.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Clubs bid for WSL spot". thefa.com. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  6. ^ "FA Selects Clubs for WSL". WSL. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  7. ^ Baber, Mark. "Doncaster Belles lose appeal over demotion from Women's Super League". Inside World Football. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  8. ^ a b "FA WSL 2 promotion announcement". Faws1.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC Sport – Women's Super League to be expanded from 2015". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Sheffield FC beat Portsmouth in Women's Premier League play-off". BBC. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Katie Brazier: FA head of women's leagues targets WSL expansion". BBC Sport. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  12. ^ Stonelake, Anthony (15 May 2020). "Women's Super League Season to End". Her Football Hub. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  13. ^ "WSL 2 attendances up 36% in 2015". shekicks.net. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.

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