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Page last updated at 09:11 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 10:11 UK

History made as league kicks off

Players launch new league
The new league was launched in Haverfordwest

Seventeen years after the equivalent men's competition launched, the Welsh Premier Women's Football League kicked off on Thursday.

It has been set up in response to growing participation amongst women and to bring Wales in line with other countries which have national leagues.

Aberystwyth Town beat Llanidloes Town 2-0 in the inaugural match.

Sam Gaunt scored the opener after 67 minutes before Leanne Bray's injury-time free-kick wrapped up the points.

A crowd of 348 witnessed the match at Aberystwyth's Park Avenue ground.

League Secretary John Deakin said the improvement in women's football had been reflected in the national team.

Wales beat second seeds the Czech Republic in Llanelli on Wednesday to claim their first win in their 2011 Women's World Cup qualifying campaign.

The new league, funded by the Football Association of Wales begins with eight teams and plans to increase these to 12 next season.

"We were one of the few nations in Uefa that hadn't got a women's league," Deakin said.

"It is important that we have a pathway for female players to develop within the borders of Wales and hopefully this league will give them that.

606: DEBATE

"We do really want to increase female participation and the improvement in women's football in Wales has been reflected in the national team.

"Almost all [Wales women] play outside Wales and we hope we can develop football of a higher standard domestically."

Llanidloes striker Tricia Turner, 31, said she hoped the league would keep players in Wales and attract home those who had left.

"It will definitely increase the standard - at the moment any quality players head towards England because of their local leagues," Turner said.



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see also
Wales Women 2-0 Czech Rep Women
23 Sep 09 |  Women
Agonising defeat for Wales Women
21 Sep 09 |  Women
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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