FA to announce sweeping changes to women's game

The Football Association is on the brink of announcing ground-breaking changes to the way women’s football is run in England.

An FA board meeting this week is set to rubber-stamp the introduction of £16,000-a-year central contracts for top England players, the launch of a new 'Superleague' of eight teams, kicking off in March 2010, and the appointment of a “performance director.”

Intriguingly, the FA are also understood to be considering a trial run of a ground-breaking draft system, like the one used in American Football, to ensure the best players are shared out between clubs to ensure a genuinely competitive league.

Whether or not they’d ever contemplate such a system in the men’s Premier League remains to be seen – but with Arsenal and Chelsea currently dominating the women’s game domestically, the FA hope a draft system will help ensure the biggest clubs don’t simply end up signing all the best players.

The planned changes, the most sweeping since the FA took over the running of women’s football fifteen years ago, will cost an initial £1m-£2m - and follow lengthy consultations with strategic management consultancy Genesis, whose previous work in the sports field has included the regeneration of Rugby League.

England manager Hope Powell said: “We have been playing catch-up with the likes of Germany and the USA for some time, and now associations like Holland and Australia are investing in their women's game, too. These FA proposals will help take the game in England to the next level, as well as keeping our talented players in England rather than seeing them got abroad to play their club football.”