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Page last updated at 19:43 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 20:43 UK

FA to launch women's Super League

Lord Triesman
FA chairman Lord Triesman heralded the changes

A new women's Super League is to run over the summer months from 2010.

The Football Association will invite clubs to apply for membership of the league, with the lower tiers continuing to play between August to May.

The FA has also given the green light to central contracts for England players to help them financially.

FA chairman Lord Triesman said: "It's good news England's biggest female participation sport will achieve maybe the biggest boost in its history."

To further help the development of the women's game, the FA has backed the proposal to appoint a women's performance manager.

"The new Super League will provide a concentrated, high-quality competition, and during the summer months give the game an exposure when there is no other top-flight football being played," said England women's coach Hope Powell.

"I also hope that it will prevent our best players from joining the women's professional soccer organisation in the USA.

"I am very confident that the new performance unit and central contracts will help us raise the bar further at the elite level and build upon recent successes.

"Our teams will now arrive at tournaments in early or mid-season, rather than at the end of a long nine to 10 months, as was the case at Euro 2005 and in last September's Fifa World Cup in China."

Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe added: "I welcome this move from the FA that will help to strengthen and develop the women's game in this country.

"The creation of a Summer League will shine a spotlight on the women's game and help encourage participation at the grassroots level even further."

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