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The speed of change in women’s football is leaving some clubs behind | Suzanne Wrack

The deadline for teams to stay in the revamped top two tiers has passed with Watford and Sunderland announcing that they are not even applying

The deadline for Women’s Super League clubs to apply to stay in the top two tiers next season closed last Friday. Less than 50 days after announcing the controversial plans to restructure women’s football, clubs have had to submit details of how they will meet the new strict criteria set out by the Football Association that will see the establishment of a fully professional top tier and semi-professional second tier. The changes have brought a mixed response from clubs and now we have the first glimpse of their effects.

Last Tuesday the WSL 2 club Watford announced they would not be applying to remain in the new semi-professional league, instead choosing to drop down into the amateur Women’s Premier League. Two days later the WSL 1 side Sunderland, who reverted to semi?professionalism this year, revealed they too would not meet Friday’s deadline, instead choosing to launch a “joint bid” (presumably with the WSL 2 side Durham or in partnership with a university) for the top flight in March alongside applications from the lower leagues.

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