The Football Association have today announced that from 2017/18, the Women’s Super League will become a winter competition, bringing the top two tiers of English women’s football in line with the rest of Europe.
The FA Women’s Premier Divisions, which include the third tier and below, are already played in the winter.
The 2017/18 season will run from September to May after the end of Women’s Euro 2017, which takes place in the Netherlands.
There will also be a one month break between mid-December 2017 and January 2018.
As part of the changes, which the FA hopes will help England win the 2023 World Cup, a transitional competition, known as the FA WSL Spring Series will take place from February to June 2017 alongside the Women’s FA Cup.
The move has been called ‘courageous’ by England boss Mark Sampson.
“When I look at it the positives far outweigh the negatives, certainly from an England point of view,” the Welshman said.
The summer season had been criticised, notably by Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, who said the schedule had an impact on English clubs competing in Europe.
After a 2-1 defeat in a Champions League last-16 tie against German side Wolfsburg in November 2015, Hayes told the BBC: “Four weeks between games showed.
“I hope our Football Association do more to prepare better scheduling because if an English team is going to win the Champions League, we have to be more game ready.”