The Football Association of Ireland and the League of Ireland have confirmed the introduction of professional contracts to players in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League (WNL) which will be introduced December 1st, 2022.
From this date, professional players in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League will be subject to the same Standard Player Contract and minimum wage regulations as men’s players in the League of Ireland.
Clubs competing in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League will be under no obligation to offer professional contracts to players and, similar to the Men’s game, Clubs will have the option to have full-time or part-time professional players or amateur players depending on the circumstances of each club.
This historic agreement has been reached after the National Leagues Committee approved the introduction of professional contracts and this decision was ratified by the FAI Board.
The National Leagues Committee will also establish a Working Group to monitor implementation and effects of the introduction of professional contracts to the League. This new significant announcement underpins the importance of continued investment into the Clubs which is vital for the long term sustainability of professional women’s football in Ireland.
Clubs wishing to sign players on professional contracts in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League will now also be subject to Domestic Training Compensation Regulations which are in place for the first time a player changes their status from Amateur to Professional.
Club Licensing criteria will also apply to ensure that the change of status from amateur to professional is regulated and clubs will be subjected to Salary Cost Protocols in order to be compliant with Financial Fair Play regulations.
As a result of the new regulations, League of Ireland and Women's National League Clubs will now be enabled to:
Secure their best young players on professional contracts and provide certainty to the club that the player will be signed for the full season
Ensure any player who moves to another professional club will do so for a transfer fee
Allow the introduction of loan players into the WNL from other professional leagues
FAI's Director of Football, Marc Canham, said “This announcement is a significant one for women’s football in Ireland and comes at a time when we are working together with all strands of the game to ensure a pathway to international and professional football is in place for all the young girls who want to reach the pinnacle of their football potential. Interest in football for women and girls in Ireland has never been stronger and this is another major step forward for our game.”