Football Queensland has confirmed four clubs have been successful in their applications to participate in the National Premier Leagues Queensland Women’s competition from 2021.
The awarding of new licences follows an extremely competitive application process that was designed to strengthen the female development pathway and build the necessary competition frameworks in the lead-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, which will accelerate the growth that saw women’s and girls participation numbers increase by 11% nationally in the last census.
The four new clubs will form part of an initial 16-team competition in 2021 that will split into two after each team has played each other once, before becoming two eight-team competitions from 2022 onwards with promotion and relegation connecting the top-tier NPL Women’s and second-tier Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) Women’s divisions.
The four-member NPL Women’s Assessment Panel – which included internal and external technical, competitions and women’s football expertise, and a highly-regarded female former NPL Women’s coach – assessed all nine applications against stringent criteria independently of each other, providing over 720 individual scores across 20 categories, including a new ‘For the Good of the Women’s Game’ criteria, before meeting to moderate scores, ensuring consistency and transparency prior to agreeing on final scores and determining the successful clubs.
The NPL Women’s Assessment Panel ultimately selected Virginia United, Olympic FC, Brisbane City and Peninsula Power from a field containing several outstanding candidates.
FQ Board member and former Westfield Matilda Amy Chapman oversaw the moderation process, which confirmed the high standard of the successful applications from the highly competitive field.
“I firstly want to congratulate the four clubs that have been awarded licences and sincerely thank the 14 in total that submitted either an application or expression of interest,” Chapman said.
“The strong appetite among clubs to want to be part of women’s football is something to celebrate.
“The interest levels and the overall high quality of applications reaffirmed the football community’s confidence in the NPL Women’s reforms FQ has announced in recent weeks.
“Virginia United, Olympic FC, Brisbane City and Peninsula Power provided exceptional submissions that exceeded the selection criteria, factoring in essential considerations such as female facilities and programs, and most critically demonstrated each club’s capacity, willingness and strategy to take the women’s game to the next level.
“The key criteria demonstrate that FQ is strategically focused on driving opportunities for women and girls, and unlocking the legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”
The addition of new NPL Women’s clubs brings the total number of clubs in 2021 to 16, while the QAS will continue to participate in some of the age groups.
FQ will work with all clubs over the coming weeks and months to continue preparing for the expanded 2021 competition leading into the two-tier Senior Women’s system starting in 2022.