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The fixtures for the 2020 Scottish Building Society Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) season have been announced.
With eight teams in the SWPL 1, each side will play each other three times to complete the 21-match league calendar. From this year, there are now 10 sides in SWPL 2 who will play each other three times to complete a 27-match league calendar.
Scottish Women’s Football Executive Officer, Fiona McIntyre, said: “It’s an extremely exciting time for the Scottish game. The changes we’ve made to our senior game are significant and we strongly believe will have a positive impact for all involved. I believe we will see an incredibly competitive and exciting season across both premier leagues.”
On top of expanding SWPL 2 from eight to ten teams, there is also the introduction of promotion play-off matches to SWPL 1 and SWPL 2.
“We are delighted to implement these play-offs for 2020,” said McIntyre. “As the game develops across the board, we feel that now is the best time to provide increased opportunities for clubs to earn promotion. This will also add extra excitement to the full season and the addition of further matches for new and existing fans to attend after the leagues have concluded.”
It’s also probable that Scotland will have two places in the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Champions League. Under the new format, associations ranked seven to 16 will enter two sides which would likely include Scotland. That means the battle for the top two in 2020 will be bigger than ever.
The first Sunday of fixtures in SWPL 1, to be played on 23rd February, have thrown up a number of intriguing games. Perhaps the biggest game of the day will be Celtic against the 13 in-a-row league winners, Glasgow City, at K-Park. In the last meeting of the sides, Celtic came away 4-1 winners to inflict the only defeat on City in the entire 2019 season.
For newly promoted Heart of Midlothian, they will travel to take on Rangers at the Hummel Training Centre. Both sides have already made big commitments to the women’s game, so this will potentially be an early indication of how both sides will fare in 2020.
The other SWPL 1 matches see 2020 runners-up, Hibernian, host Spartans in an Edinburgh derby at Ainslie Park and Forfar Farmington take on Motherwell at Station Park.
Sunday 5th April is also a key date for the diary as last season’s top four all meet. Glasgow City host Hibernian while Rangers are at home to Celtic. It means the same fixtures will be played again on the 18th of October, which could be another huge Sunday for the final league placings.
In SWPL 2, it’s expected to be another incredibly close campaign with games extremely unpredictable.
This includes the first Sunday of the season where 2020 runners-up, Hamilton Academical, welcome Stirling University to New Douglas Park. The away side were relegated from SWPL 1 last season and will be looking to make an immediate impact in their new division.
Newly promoted Aberdeen FC Women are at home to FC Kilmarnock. Despite being in different divisions last season, the two sides met in the Scottish Cup with underdogs Aberdeen prevailing in their last encounter. The other newly promoted side, Queens Park, have a trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone.
The other two matches see Dundee United host Hutchison Vale and it’s a Glasgow derby as Partick Thistle welcome renamed Glasgow Women (previously Glasgow Girls).