When everyone thought women’s football worldwide was in a bad situation during thins pandemic… Great news have appeared!
On Thursday, June 4th, the Japan Football Association (JFA) revealed its first-ever professional women’s football league, as the country looks to promote “female social participation” and try to enhance the nation’s “diversities and choices”.
The new league has been named “Women Empowerment League”, or WE League for short. As the JFA said, the project will officially kick off in autumn 2021; for what’s planned now, it will consist of six to 10 professional teams, and the league will not feature any promotion or relegation “for several years”, as the JFA says the clubs will need to strengthen financially to compete to the best level.
During the reveal, Tashima Kohzo, President of JFA stated:
“The purpose of the launch of the new league is not just the development of women’s football in Japan.Our aim is to contribute to build a sustainable society through promoting female social participation and enhancing diversities and choices.
“How we contribute to society through sports is an important mission for all of us in the sports world. We will work to establish the career of women’s professional footballers, which is the dream of many girls, and further promote women’s empowerment and solve social issues.”
Therefore, Japan’s new competition will officially be regarded as the step above the Nadeshiko League, current “non-professional” Japanese women’s football league, but which has helped grow the women’s football scene in the country for over 30 years. Moreover, the JFA has stipulated that at least one executive per club must be a woman and within three years females must account for at least half the employees at each team.
For now, it’s just great news to hear for women’s football growth in Japan. Whether it becomes a small or a big step, it will all depend on how the JFA handles the league in the future.