FA Women's Premier League
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2015)|
|Number of teams||72|
|Level on pyramid||3-4|
|Promotion to||FA WSL 2 (since 2015)|
|Relegation to||Regional Leagues|
|Domestic cup(s)||FA Women's Cup
FA Women's Premier League Cup
|Most championships||Arsenal (12 titles)|
The FA Women's Premier League, is a football league run by The Football Association. It sits at step 1 and 2 of women's winter football in England and level 3 and 4 of women's football in England overall, below the Women's Super League.
The Women's Premier League consists, as of 2014-15, of a Northern and Southern division and four Division 1 leagues. In the 2014–15 season, 72 teams competed in the two divisions of the Women's Premier League.
From its foundation in 1992-93 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. 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 (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, for this the Combination Women's Football Leagues were incorporated to the new Division 1. At level 3 in the pyramid now is the Northern and Southern division, a level below are four groups of Division 1 leagues: Northern, 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. This play-off was contested between Portsmouth FC Ladies and Sheffield FC Ladies at Stratford FC's ground, with the latter winning through a stoppage time goal. For the 2015/16, there will again be a play-off between the champions of the Southern and Northern Divisions.
Below is a list of National Division champions and Premier League Cup winners, alongside the winners of the other major competitions for which FA Women's Premier League clubs are eligible, counted from the time the Women's Premier League was formed; the FA Cup dates from 1970 and the Community Shield (formerly the Charity Match and the Charity Shield) from 2000. The FA Cup was run by the Women's Football Association from 1970–71 to 1992–93 inclusive, and was taken over by the FA from the 1993–94 season. Likewise, the Premier League was run by the Women's FA for its first two seasons before being taken over by the FA.
|Season||Premier League winners
and English champions
|Season||Premier League winners|
- 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. Leeds United L.F.C. changed their name to Leeds Carnegie in 2008–09 but returned to Leeds United Ladies for the 2010–11 season.
Regional Division Champions
|Season||Northern Division||Southern Division|
|1992–93||Aston Villa||District Line|
|1993–94||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Bromley Borough|
|1994–95||Aston Villa||Maidstone Tigresses|
|1995–96||Tranmere Rovers||Southampton Saints|
|1997–98||Ilkeston Town||Southampton Saints|
|1998–99||Aston Villa||Reading Royals|
|2000–01||Leeds United||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|2002–03||Aston Villa||Bristol Academy|
|2003–04||Liverpool||Bristol City W.F.C.|
|2005–06||Blackburn Rovers||Cardiff City|
|2010–11*||Aston Villa||Charlton Athletic|
|FA WSL adds second division|
|Season||Northern Division One||Midland Division One||Southeast Division One||Southwest Division One|
|2014–15||Guiseley AFC Vixens||Loughborough Foxes||C & K Basildon||Forest Green Rovers|
From the 2014-15 season onwards, the club promoted to FA WSL (via a play-off between the Northern and Southern division champions), and overall champions of the FA WPL, are marked in bold.
The main cup competition of the WPL is the FA Women's Premier League Cup, a knock-out competition involving all of the teams within each of the six divisions that make up the WPL. 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 prelimary group stage before reaching the knock-out stage.
From the 2014/15 season, the FA Women's Premier League Plate was introduced. Within the current structure of the Women's Premier League Cup, each of the teams compete in the preliminary round. The losers of this round then compete for the FA Women's Premier League 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.
- FA Women's Premier League National Division
- FA Women's Premier League Northern Division
- FA Women's Premier League Southern Division
- FA Women's Premier League Cup
- The Football Association – Women's Premier League official site
- femaleSOCCER.net – Girls and women's football including England Women's Premier League