Over the last six months, SWF and various stakeholders have been working towards a shortened 2021 National Performance League (NPL) season. This was anticipated to run from January to June 2021.

Unfortunately, the Scottish Government roadmap has not allowed this to proceed and the Strong Quality Growth (SQG) Committee have declared the 2021 season null and void. This is simply due to the lack of suitable time for fixtures between now and June.

The SQG Committee now encourage NPL teams to arrange their own activity between now and July (if desired) in preparation for the 2021/22 season and in accordance with Scottish Government and Scottish FA guidance. The new season will run from 7th/8th August and will end no later than June 2022.

SWF will now begin an audit process for all new and existing NPL teams to ensure all teams meet the NPL entry criteria.

Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) Chair, Vivienne MacLaren said: “It’s disappointing that a shortened NPL season could not be achieved but I think everyone is aware of the very complex challenges that 2021 has posed.

“What is important now for all levels of the girl’s and women’s game is that there is a clear pathway for a return to football that also ensures the safety of everyone involved. We will work with NPL teams in preparation for the 2021/22 season ahead.

“Scotland has a rich history of producing some of the brightest talents in world football and we’re seeing more and more former NPL players make the step-up to SWPL football. I have no doubt that this pathway will continue to flourish.”