Following Monday’s meeting of the Women’s Super League & Championship board, it was decided to that both their 2019/20 seasons would end immediately. In terms of Aston Villa, it is only now the men’s senior team that have their season in limbo, following the ending of youth level teams earlier in the lockdown period.
The sporting outcomes of both Women’s leagues will be decided at a later date, although if promotion is fulfilled, Villa will finally win promotion to the top tier of the Women’s game. Villa were topping the table by six points, having won 13 and drawn one of their 14 games. It’s unfortunate that the players won’t get the chance of possibly gaining ‘invincible’s’ status in their promotion quest, but playing in the Woman’s Super League next season would ultimately sweeten the blow.
Ironically, the reversed end of season dilemma for Villa Women’s team to their men’s team, is mirrored in reverse by Liverpool Women’s team. While Villa sit top by six points, and in a commanding position ala Liverpool’s men’s team in the Premier League, Liverpool Women’s team are bottom of the Super League league in the sole relegation spot.
So, the FA and Women’s footballing bodies have to decide whether promoting Villa and relegating Liverpool would be fair?
Aston Villa Women, it could be argued, have earned their position and promotion reward (although not mathematically, ala Liverpool in the Premier League). However, Liverpool are only one point adrift from Birmingham City (who have played one game less) and three points off Bristol City, so had a decent enough chance of avoiding relegation over the course of the rest of there season. Like Villa men’s team, they are hardly cut adrift, although they don’t have the same game-in-hand that could give them safety.
A potential happy compromise, that has been mentioned when discussing the Premier League, is not punishing teams with relegation, yet allowing some promotion (from the Championship). So in the case of the Premier League, there could be 22 teams next season (with Leeds and WBA joining the current 20 Premier League teams), with five teams getting relegated at the end of the season to restore the league back to 20 teams.
This train of thought doesn’t look too likely in the Super League though.
Promoting Villa and allowing Liverpool to stay in the Super League would create an awkward odd number of teams in the top tier and shrink an already small second tier.
It’s certainly going to be interesting in the coming weeks to see if there will be a uniform system in settling leagues across all the English football divisions, that have elected to call it a day on 2019/20 season.
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Here’s the statement from The FA in full…
The FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board has today confirmed the decision to end the 2019/20 season for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship, with immediate effect.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board has been in regular consultation with clubs and key stakeholders from across both leagues to identify the most suitable and appropriate way to conclude the 2019/20 season, and to give clubs and players the clarity and support they need at this time.
Following overwhelming feedback from the clubs, the decision to bring an end to the 2019/20 season was made in the best interest of the women’s game. This will also enable clubs, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board and The FA to plan, prepare and focus on next season when football returns for the 2020/21 campaign.
Supporting the welfare of the clubs and players will continue to be our primary concern throughout this process, which also involved a robust and thorough examination of the logistical, operational and financial challenges that the game currently faces.
Following full and thorough consultation with the clubs, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Boardhas discussed various recommendations which will be sent to The FA Board to determine the most appropriate sporting outcome for the 2019/20 season. This will include identifying the entries for the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League, which would be based on sporting merit from the 2019/20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.
We are not in a position to comment further until the FA Board has had sufficient time to consider all of the recommendations and options.