Women's football set for key changes
The FA have approved three significant initiatives in principle which could shape the future of women's football, with over 1.3 million females now participating in the sport.
A new FA Women's Super League will launch in 2010 to run during the summer months. The FA also gave the green light to the appointment of a Women's Performance Manager to lead a new Women's Performance Unit. This role will focus on national teams and talent development.
National Player central contracts have also been approved. These will allow players to dedicate themselves to England training programmes as part of The FA's strategic vision to create winning England teams for the future.
FA Chairman Lord Triesman said: "It is very good news that the biggest female participation sport in England will achieve perhaps the biggest boost in its history."
The commencement of a new League is subject to the adjustment of current FA regulations, and a sub-committee comprised of four FA Board members will examine in finer details the operational aspects of its first year.
Over 1.3 million girls and women now play some form of football, and The FA has 52 licensed FA Centres of Excellence in operation across England, providing weekly quality coaching and a localised fixture programme for talented girls from the age of 8-16.
That progress has also been reflected on the international stage. England most recently reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in China last year and this weekend resume their Euro 2009 qualifying campaign, with just two draws away to Czech Republic and Spain being enough to reach next summer's finals in Finland. This Autumn, England's U20 and U17 Women's teams will also compete in their respective age group World Cup Finals, in Chile and New Zealand.
England Women's coach Hope Powell said: "This is another massive step forward for women's football and the England teams.
"The new Super League will provide a concentrated, high-quality competition, and during the summer months give the game an exposure when there is no other top-flight football being played. I also hope that it will prevent our best players from joining the Women's Professional Soccer organisation in the USA.
"I am very confident that the new Performance Unit and central contracts will help us raise the bar further at the elite level and build upon recent successes. Our teams will now arrive at tournaments in early or mid-season, rather than at the end of a long 9-10 months, as was the case at Euro 2005 and in last September's FIFA World Cup in China. These are very exciting times for everyone involved in the women's game."