The fixtures for the 2021/22 SHAAP National Performance League (NPL) have been released. The NPL sits as part of the performance pathway for girls and women’s football, offering youth players an elite environment to develop towards senior performance football.
There have been adaptations for the new season with the 15’s NPL becoming an 16’s league and the 19’s being split into two district leagues. Four new teams will also enter the 19’s leagues for the season ahead. Forfar Farmington, East Fife, and Livingston will all enter the East League while Motherwell will join the West league.
In the 16’s league, eight teams will participate with three rounds of fixtures. After 21 matches are played, the league will be split and a further three round of fixtures will be played between the top-half and bottom-half of the league.
At 19’s, both the East and West Leagues will feature eight teams. They will participate in three rounds of fixtures to complete a 21-match calendar season.
As part of the performance arm, there is no relegation from these leagues but teams must meet minimum criteria in order to join and remain in the NPL. Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) is currently undergoing a comprehensive youth review, which includes the NPL. The recommendations from this review, which will be published later this year, could see changes to the NPL format for the 2022/23 season.
Scottish Women’s Football Chair, Vivienne MacLaren, said: “We’re delighted to be able to confirm the fixtures for the upcoming 2021/22 SHAAP National Performance Leagues.
“The creation of the NPL in 2018 has been a huge success for everyone involved in the girls and women’s game. Elite youth teams and players face similar standard opposition on a regular basis, ensuring a best-v-best environment. This helps develop the next generation of first team players with many former NPL players already playing in the SWPL.
Speaking about the ongoing youth review, MacLaren added: “It’s too early to state any findings or conclusions from the review, but it has already been extremely positive. SWF is engaging with stakeholders from both the performance and regional pathways, plus we’ve established our first ever youth player forum. With the assistance of our Child Wellbeing & Protection team, we’re able to hear directly from youth players and ensure their voices are heard.
“SWF has always been and remains a forward thinking and progressive organisation. Adapting and evolving our game is vital and that’s why the youth review is so important. The NPL is a big part of the review and I look forward to sharing the findings in due course.”