Football is ready to return following confirmation that the 2020 Women’s National League season will start on the second weekend in August.
The 10th season of the Women’s National League was originally scheduled to start in March but the COVID-19 pandemic put that on hold and clubs have been waiting patiently ever since.
Now, the focus can switch to preparing for a safe return to play and the Football Association of Ireland will aid that by making a financial package available to each of the nine clubs.
In order to help clubs, affiliation fees have waived, a participation grant will be provided, prize money will be spread out equally, and there will be funds available to ensure all clubs can upgrade their grounds to follow safety protocols.
The FAI will also supply a special COVID-19 Assistance Grant to help each of the clubs who will have suffered financial losses due to the pandemic disrupting the original start to the season. There will also be additional support given to teams in the Under-17 League.
Clubs will be able to access performance analysis for their games following a link up with Avenir Sports and using the Hudl and WyScout platforms. Each club has been provided with a video camera, tripod, and memory card to record their games.
Myles Kelly, Women’s National League Committee Chairperson, said: “”The Women’s National League Committee held a meeting with the senior clubs in the Women’s National League on July 2nd, 2020. The meeting outlined a significant financial package to aid the clubs for a new start date in early August for the 2020 Women’s National League.
“The Women’s National League Committee would like to thank the clubs for their forbearance through this difficult time and also the FAI for the financial package which allows the League to be completed in 2020.”
The first series of games kicks off on the second weekend of August and that will signal the beginning of Phase One, where every team will face off against each other. There will then be a split for Phase Two, where clubs will be separated into two sections and playing each other again.
Peamount United, who lifted the title last season, will represent the League in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and their Qualifying Round is due to start in early October.
A fixture list and confirmation of a start date for the U-17 League will follow in due course.