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REFEREES from the top two tiers of women’s football will work within the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) framework from next season.
The FA announced the move this morning as it aims to enhance the support and development of officiating in the Women’s Super League (WSL) as well as the Women’s Championship.
Match officials will not be professional but their development will be aided by access to the same facilities afforded to PGMOL officials across the Premier League and English Football League.
“Following the announcement of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League’s new domestic media rights partnership with Sky Sports and the BBC, the FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship Board agreed a new three-year investment programme with the PGMOL, to enhance the support and development of officiating in the professional women’s game,” the statement read.
“The move is designed to further professionalise the environment for match officials, with an increased level of bespoke support tailored to the professional game.”
It is believed that the new television deal will be worth £7 million to £8m a season to the WSL, bringing extra exposure to the league and the standard of officiating as well as the level of competition.
FA director of the women’s professional game Kelly Simmons believes the move will allow the standard of refereeing to track the progress made as a whole in recent times.
“This is a major step for our match officials in their development,” she said.
“I’m confident that PGMOL have the right infrastructure to provide them with the necessary support to ensure they continue to develop, and deliver at the highest standard within the professional game.
“The women’s game has moved on significantly over the last few years and we must ensure that our referees are provided the right environment to move with it.
“We have a highly dedicated and passionate pool of officials, and the time is now right that their development opportunities align with that of the men’s professional game.”
Officials underneath the Women’s Championship will continue to remain under the FA umbrella.
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