The Women’s National League and the Under Age Leagues across the domestic Republic of Ireland football scene get back underway this weekend.

SSE Airtricity and Bank of Ireland are on board as committed partners of the Women’s League as well as the Men’s with EA sport s back for more supporting the Under Age games.

The Women’s National League is back to an even number of ten teams with Sligo Rovers entering a team this season for the first time.

They will be one of a number of clubs playing their home matches at a League of Ireland stadium, alongside Shelbourne FC and Bohemian FC who will meet at Tolka Park in tomorrow’s opening round of fixtures.

Next Week on Sport for Business we will publish our annual look at the commercial deals that have been put in place around the League, we hope that this will show a strong advance on last year and there are an increasing number of clubs that are signing deals specifically related to the Women’s team.

Close ties to an existing Men’s League of Ireland team are in place across many of the clubs and the hope is that integrated social media posts and the promotion of the Women’s game at the international level will also lead to a rise in attendance.

Visibility will be there with all of the matches being streamed live on LOITV.

“I’m looking forward to the 2022 SSE Airtricity Women’s National League getting underway with five great games to kick things off on Saturday,” said League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon.

“Women’s football, and the League itself, has made some significant strides forward in the last few years and we aim to keep that going with every game available on LOITV, nine games set to be shown on TG4, the FAI Women’s Cup Final on RTÉ2 and the return of spectators to stadiums.”

“On and off the pitch, the continued development of the League is of paramount importance and that is reflected in the FAI Strategy 2022-2025. We all need to work together to ensure that we achieve our target – players, officials, administrators, sponsors, stakeholders and volunteers.”

“There is plenty to look forward to with Sligo Rovers coming in as the 10th team, Shelbourne going into UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifiers, challenges to build on record attendances and hopefully another title race to remember.”

Sport for Business Perspective

The Women’s game here has had a few false starts dating back to the 1970s but the League today looks stronger than ever and with obvious names like Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk not yet involved again, there is clearly scope for expansion.

The FAI’s recently published strategy outlined the target of a second full division in the Women’s League by 2026 and that will need a strong performance on and off the field over the next two years to become a realistic ambition. There is little reason to think that will not be the case.