Plans afoot for Scottish Women's Football to restructure Championship into a national division, says Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women's manager Mason
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Although there is still no clarity over what will happen to Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women’s 2020/21 campaign, the wheels have already been set in motion to change the league structure for next season.
It was announced in 2019 that women’s football in Scotland would split into two pathways – a performance pyramid for clubs looking to compete at the top level, and a recreational arm for clubs perhaps unwilling to play in national leagues.
That meant the creation of a new Championship tier below the SWPL One and Two, which was split into regionalised north and south leagues.
Inverness had been hoping to win promotion from the north league into SWPL Two this season before matches were paused, but there could now be a different prize up for grabs if reconstruction takes effect.
“Instead of having the Championship North and South, they’re looking at having a national league,” Caley Thistle manager Karen Mason explained.
“There would be something to be playing for this season in the sense that the top four teams in the north and the top six in the south – because they have more teams – would form a national Championship.
“Below that there would be League One, similar to the men’s structure at the moment, which would give us a bigger performance arm in the SWF that they’re hoping to start in August for a winter season.”
It remains to be seen how those four teams from the north would be decided if the current season cannot be completed, which Mason says is all the more reason to try and actively find a way to finish the campaign.
“We’re probably not likely to hear anything until all the schools are back and the next phase is coming in,” she reasoned.
“We’re looking at the possibilities as a league to maybe look at only playing one round of fixtures, and playing through July, then getting ready to start the new 21/22 season in August.
“They are trying to put things in place at the moment to say whether we have three months, two months, whatever, what are the options?
“There is still some hope that there could be promotion at the end of it all. Until the government release everything and we know the timeframe we’ve got to work with, it will all be up in the air.”