After a thrilling short season in the first half of the year brought the women’s regional game into the national pyramid structure, season 2023-24 will be the first full season for the regional leagues played in the traditional winter calendar.
After three exciting play-offs, Queen of the South, Forfar Farmington and Bonnyrigg Rose became the first teams to be promoted to the national leagues in this way. For the new season, eight new teams are joining the leagues, reflecting the attraction of a pathway for clubs to reach the very top of the women’s game in Scotland. Development teams of clubs already represented in the national leagues will continue to be ineligible for promotion via the play-offs.
The SWFL North has two brand new teams: Arbroath and Elgin. They are joined by Grampian Ladies after the Aberdeenshire club withdrew from League One, and Dundee West and Forfar Farmington who establish development teams in the division. This expansion of the SWFL North allows both East Fife Development and Glenrothes Strollers to move into the SWFL East.
The SWFL East league will also be joined by Armadale Thistle, a team formed by former Livingston Reserves players who won the division in the short season but were not eligible to be promoted as a development club.
The SWFL West league is joined by Dumbarton United and Championship side Rossvale’s new development team as well as Gleniffer Thistle, who were relegated from League One last season.
Finally, Ardrossan Winton Rovers have been established and join the SWFL South alongside Championship club Morton’s new development team.
Commenting, SWF CEO Aileen Campbell said: “There are women across Scotland who want to test themselves in competitive leagues, and it’s clear that aligning our regional SWFL within the pyramid and opening up opportunities for the best to reach the top has provided an incentive for more teams to join.The short season was so exciting, and this was reflected in more interest in the game, both in the media and among fans. It was incredible to see attendances such as the hundreds who flocked to East End Park to watch Dunfermline against Falkirk Development, or the around 700 who attended the League One play-offs in Forfar, Dumfries and Airdrie. This extra visibility is absolutely necessary in growing the game further, providing a sustainable future for clubs and making the women who play feel respected and valued. The SWFL provides a platform for clubs at different levels and I wish them all good luck for the season ahead.”
The new SWFL leagues:
NORTH: Arbroath, Buchan Ladies, Dundee West (Development), Dryburgh Athletic (Development), Dyce, Elgin City, Forfar Farmington (Development), Grampian Ladies, Huntly, Inverurie Locos, Stonehaven, Westdyke Thistle (Development) (12)
EAST: Armadale Thistle, Central Girls, Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife (Development), Edinburgh South, Edinburgh University Thistle (Development), Falkirk (Development), Glenrothes Strollers, Linlithgow Rose, McDermid Ladies, Murieston United, Musselburgh Windsor (12)
SOUTH: Annan Athletic, Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Ayr United (Development), Cumnock Juniors, Dalbeattie Star, Harmony Row, Kilwinning, Morton (Development), Nithsdale Wanderers, Stewarton United (10)
WEST: Alloa Athletic, Bishopton, Clydebank, Cumbernauld Colts, Drumchapel United, Dunipace, Dumbarton United, Flip the Mindset, Gleniffer Thistle, Rossvale (Development), West Park United (11)