Wednesday, July 13rd, 2016
Bristol City Women are set for a winter switch in 2017, following a radical change announced by The FA.
The WSL, and its second tier WSL2 where City currently ply their trade, will be moving to a September-May season from 2017/18 onwards.
In its previous six seasons the WSL has been played in the English summer. A one-off transitional season, known as the WSL Spring Series, will be played in February to June of 2017.
The FA has also revealed the WSL will take a one-month winter break from mid-December 2017 to mid-January 2018.
The objective is to aid England’s chances of winning the 2023 World Cup.
City Women head coach Willie Kirk said: “I welcome the news of the change of season. I think it’s a big step forward for the women’s game and a big statement of intent. I feel that since the introduction of the WSL, the game has attracted and developed it’s own unique fanbase.
“Of course, we want to continue to increase this, but I’m not sure that the game is in direct competition with the men’s game any longer in term son attracting supporters.
“There are obviously some advantages from playing in the summer that we will lose, but by aligning to the rest of the country, the youth leagues, the academic year, the German & French leagues, as well as the Champions League season, I am sure that the benefits will outweigh any detrimental effects."
England boss Mark Sampson, previously in charge at Stoke Gifford Stadium, said: "When I look at it the positives far outweigh the negatives, certainly from an England point of view.
"The objective is to make sure we do as well as we can. We need the best players we can, the best support and with a fixture list that helps them develop and grow.
"Hopefully the way the season works moving forward, we will get players who are fit, they will be fresh and with all of the factors combined it gives us a better chance of a more competitive team."
The WSL had planned to expand to 20 clubs by 2017, with no teams being relegated from WSL 2 to the WPL. That will continue, to 21 teams by 2017/18.
City Women are currently looking to secure promotion back to the top flight and are well positioned in second place behind Yeovil Town.