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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Scottish women's league kicks off
Donna James of Scotland (left) tackles Holland's Sarina Wiegman
The fixture list is designed to help the national side
A new era for Scottish women's football will be ushered in on Sunday - but still without a sponsor.

Women footballers have greater kudos in the USA than their male counterparts, while the women's game in England has attracted increased television coverage as it prepares for the launch of its professional league.

But the new Scottish Women's Premier League cannot yet find anyone willing to pay 20,000 or less to sponsor the new set-up.

The breakaway league is designed to give women's football the kind of exposure the money men desire.


Hopefully it will create much more media interest
Mauree McGonigle, SWFA administrator
Scottish Women's Football Association administrator Maureen McGonigle told BBC Sport Online: "Hopefully it will create much more media interest.

"It is the only way we are going to get sponsorship."

The women's game has struggled to have any more than novelty appeal to national newspaper editors, but many have at least agreed to carry the new league's results.

While the game will still be amateur and there is little likelihood as yet of following the English example of paying players a wage, the new league is designed to bring a more professional approach to the running of the 12 clubs involved.

As they also include most of Scotland international players, the fixture list has also been designed to help the national side.

McGonigle hopes that the new league will also end the migration of top players to leagues in other countries.

Scotland and former Ayr United forward Julie Fleeting has moved to the United States, while a handful of players have been lost until September at least to leagues in Iceland and Sweden.

Julie Fleeting in action for Scotland
Fleeting is one of several Scots to venture abroad
Ayr have been the biggest casualties and the former dominant force in Scottish football will struggle to match new champions and local rivals Kilmarnock.

Killie will represent Scotland in this season's Uefa Cup for women and have added international Shelley Kerr to their ranks. Glasgow City are also hotly tipped, having won a tournament in England during pre-season.

The other 30 clubs will remain in the Scottish Women's Football League, but it is hoped that the benefits of the new set-up will eventually filter down to them too.

Opening fixtures (kick-off 1400BST):

Dundee v Giulianos

Cove Rangers v Kilmarnock

Ayr United v Lossiemouth

Hamilton v Glasgow City

Inver-Ross v Hibernian

Shettleston v Raith Rovers

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