FA Women's National League

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FA Women's National League
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Number of teams150
Level on pyramid3–4
Promotion toFA Women's Championship (since 2015)
Relegation toRegional Leagues
Domestic cup(s)FA Women's Cup
FA Women's National League Cup
FA Women's Premier League Plate
Most championshipsArsenal (12 titles)
Current season (2019–20)

The FA Women's National League is a Football Association-branded league and is run by an elected management committee. It sits at step 3 and 4 of the Women's Pyramid of Football pyramid in England, supporting and underpinning the Women's Super League (WSL) and the Women's Championship. Prior to the 2018–19 season, it was known as the Women's Premier League.[1]


From its foundation in 1991–92 through until 2012–13, the league was run in a pyramid format, with the FA Women's Premier League National Division at the top, and the Northern and Southern divisions running on an equal basis underneath the National Division. The winners of these leagues each season were promoted to the National Division. The terms Women's Premiership and Ladies Premiership were generally used for the National Division only. The National Division had been the top tier of women's football on its foundation, but was demoted after the creation of the FA Women's Super League in 2011.[2] Following the 2012–13 season, the National Division was scrapped due to the FA's decision to add a second division to the WSL for the 2014 season – WSL 2. (Note that the WSL is a summer league, as opposed to the Premier League's winter format.)

For the 2014–15 season, the Premier League was restructured to have a second level. To accomplish this, the four Combination Women's Football Leagues were incorporated as the Premier League's new Division 1. At level 3 in the pyramid now is the Northern and Southern division; a level below are four groups of Division One leagues: North, Midlands, South East and South West. In addition, the winners of the Northern and Southern Divisions would play each other in a one-off play-off at a neutral venue for an opportunity to be promoted into the WSL, the first instance of promotion between the WPL and the WSL. The first play-off was contested between Portsmouth and Sheffield F.C. at Stratford FC's ground, with the latter winning through a stoppage time goal.


Currently there are two tiers and a total of six divisions that make up the National League: the two tier 3 divisions, the Northern and Southern divisions, as well as four regional tier 4 divisions: Division One North, Division One Midlands, Division One South East and Division One South West.

Current teams[edit]

In the 2019–20 season, 24 teams compete in the Premier League (12 teams per division) and 47 teams compete in Division One (12 teams per division except for Division One South East which has 11 following the disbanding of Southampton Saints prior to the start of the season).

Premier League[edit]

Premier League Northern Division

Premier League Southern Division

Division One[edit]

Division One North

Division One Midlands

Division One South East

Division One South West


Below is a list of National Division champions and Premier League winners up to 2012-13. The Premier League was run by the Women's Football Association for its first two seasons before being taken over by the FA from the 1993–94 season. (Similarly, the Women's FA Cup, which dates from 1970, was run by the Women's Football Association from 1970–71 to 1991–92 inclusive, and was taken over by the FA from the 1993–94 season.)

National Division Champions[edit]

Season Premier League winners
and English champions
1991–92 Doncaster Belles
1992–93 Arsenal
1993–94 Doncaster Belles
1994–95 Arsenal
1995–96 Croydon WFC
1996–97 Arsenal
1997–98 Everton
1998–99 Croydon WFC
1999–00 Croydon WFC
2000–01 Arsenal
2001–02 Arsenal
2002–03 Fulham
2003–04 Arsenal
2004–05 Arsenal
2005–06 Arsenal
2006–07 Arsenal
2007–08 Arsenal
2008–09 Arsenal
2009–10 Arsenal
Season Premier League winners
2010–111 Sunderland
2011–12 Sunderland
2012–132 Sunderland
  • 1 First season without the top teams, as FA WSL became top tier of women's football.
  • 2 Last season of a single national division.

Croydon W.F.C. changed their name to Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2000, and competed as Charlton Athletic for 2000–01 and subsequent seasons.

Regional Premier Division Champions[edit]

Season Northern Division Southern Division
1991–92 Bronte Arsenal
1992–93 Aston Villa District Line
1993–94 Wolverhampton Wanderers Bromley Borough
1994–95 Aston Villa Maidstone Tigresses
1995–96 Tranmere Rovers Southampton Saints
1996–97 Bradford City Berkhamsted
1997–98 Ilkeston Town Southampton Saints
1998–99 Aston Villa Reading Royals
1999–2000 Sunderland Barry Town
2000–01 Leeds United Brighton & Hove Albion
2001–02 Birmingham City Fulham
2002–03 Aston Villa Bristol Rovers
2003–04 Liverpool Bristol City
2004–05 Sunderland Chelsea
2005–06 Blackburn Rovers Cardiff City
2006–07 Liverpool Watford
2007–08 Nottingham Forest Fulham
2008–09 Sunderland Millwall
2009–10 Liverpool Barnet
2010–11[a] Aston Villa Charlton Athletic
2011–12 Manchester City Portsmouth
2012–13 Sheffield Reading
FA WSL adds second division[b]
2013–14 Sheffield Coventry City
2014–15 Sheffield Portsmouth
2015–16 Sporting Club Albion Brighton & Hove Albion
2016–17 Blackburn Rovers Tottenham Hotspur
2017–18 Blackburn Rovers Charlton Athletic
2018–19[c] Blackburn Rovers Coventry United
  1. ^ Due to the formation of the WSL, Cardiff City and Coventry City were also promoted to the National Division after finishing runners-up in the Northern and Southern Divisions respectively.
  2. ^ From the 2014–15 season onwards, the club promoted to FA Women's Championship (via a play-off between the Northern and Southern division champions), and overall champions of the FA National League, are marked in bold.
  3. ^ Blackburn won the Championship play-off but both teams were promoted as part of an overall increase in the number of WSL teams.

Regional Division One Champions[edit]

Following the incorporation of the Women's Combination Leagues into the Women's Premier League in 2014, the Women's Premier League consisted of an additional four regional leagues below the Northern and Southern Divisions.

Season Division One North Division One Midlands Division One South East Division One South West
2014–15 Guiseley Vixens Loughborough Foxes C & K Basildon Forest Green Rovers
2015–16 Middlesbrough Leicester City Crystal Palace Swindon Town
2016–17 Guiseley Vixens Wolverhampton Wanderers Gillingham Chichester City
2017–18 Hull City Loughborough Foxes Milton Keynes Dons Plymouth Argyle
2018–19 Burnley West Bromwich Albion Crawley Wasps Keynsham Town

Cup competitions[edit]

The main cup competition of the National League is the FA Women's National League Cup, a knock-out competition involving all of the teams within the six divisions that make up the National. Due to the changing structure of women's football, this competition has historically varied from a straight knock-out competition to a competition with a preliminary group stage before reaching the knock-out stage.

During the 2014–15 season, the FA Women's National League Plate was introduced. Under the current format, the teams that are eliminated from the opening round of the League Cup are entered into the Plate.



Seventy-two clubs throughout England and Wales compete in the Women's Premier League, with six divisions of twelve teams, though this number has varied historically due to the changing structure of women's football. Following the formation of the FA Women's Super League, the number of clubs competing in the national division decreased from 12 to 8. Likewise the number of teams in both the Northern and Southern Divisions decreased from 12 to 10, resulting in the total number of team's in the Women's Premier League decreasing from 36 to 28.

Following the expansion of the WSL with the addition of a second division, the National League was abolished. As a result, both the Southern and Northern Divisions increased to 11 teams each. Several clubs which had previously been competing in the National Division were moved into the Southern Division including Charlton Athletic, Cardiff City, Portsmouth and Coventry United (formerly Coventry City).

For the 2014/15 season, the Combination Leagues were incorporated into the newly rebranded FA Women's Premier League, as a result, the WPL now consisted of 72 teams in 6 divisions.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FA Women's Championship: New name chosen for England's second tier". 26 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Women's Super League".

External links[edit]