The recently renamed Women’s Championship is the second-highest division of women’s football in England. The new name for the league was announced in 2018 by the English Football Association (FA), who run the women’s leagues in England, after the FA spent a period of time researching the most effective branding. Previously known as FA Women’s Super League Two (WSL 2) this league was established in 2014 and is home today to 11 teams. This is the first time since 2014 that the top two tiers of English women’s soccer will be separated in terms of branding. Prior to this distinction, the top two leagues were categorized under the same title (Women’s Super League One and Women’s Super League Two) causing some confusion among fans who are accustomed to the naming conventions of the English men’s soccer. Now that the second division has become the Women’s Championship, it more closely mirrors the men’s Championship – the second division league in English men’s soccer.
In its inaugural season (2014), the WSL 2 had nine teams, with one team relegated from WSL 1. The first team to be relegated was Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2014, effectively legitimizing the promotion/relegation system between the two leagues and tying them together in a pyramid. As the first team to be relegated, Doncaster Belles appealed the decision but unsurprisingly lost and remained in WSL 2 until the 2017-2018 season when they won the league and were promoted to WSL 1.
Despite the change in name from WSL 2 to Women’s Championship, the promotion system has remained the same, meaning the winner and runner-up of the league receives promotion to the WSL 1 (now known as the FA Women’s Super League). Promotion is determined by the clubs’ point total at the end of the season, following the traditional soccer point system where: a win = 3 points, a draw = 1 point, and a loss = 0 points.
The previous winners and runners up since 2014 are listed below.
2014 – Winner: Sunderland, Runner-Up: Doncaster Rovers Belles
2015 – Winner: Reading, Runner-Up: Doncaster Rovers Belles
2016 – Winner: Yeovil Town, Runner-Up: Bristol City
2017 – Winner: Everton, Runner-Up: Doncaster Rovers Belles *Note, the 2017 season was known as the Spring series and ran only from February to May
2017-2018 – Winner: Doncaster Rovers Belles, Runner-Up: Brighton and Hove Albion
And in the 2018-2019 season, the Manchester United Ladies have secured promotion with two games remaining in the season, as they sit atop the table with a total of 49 points and are trailed by Tottenham in second place with a total of 42 points.
Below is the current list of 11 teams in 2019’s Women’s Championship.
|Club||Town / City|
Here is a link to the current (updated) table thanks to BBC.
“FA WSL2 Promotion Announcement.” FA WSL, 2 Dec. 2014, www.fawsl.com/news/fa_wsl_2_promotion_announcement.html#RyX534jRyF88r0yD.97. Accessed 28 Apr. 2019.
Garry, Tom. “FA Women’s Championship: New name chosen for England’s second tier.” BBC Sport, 26 Feb. 2018, www.bbc.com/sport/football/43155787. Accessed 28 Apr. 2019.