Women's Football

Japan's first women’s professional league set for 2021

The Japan pennant is seen inside the dressing room
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In a major milestone for women’s football, Japan will launch its first women’s professional competition in 2021.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) announced the WE League (Women Empowerment League) on Wednesday, with the competition to commence in autumn 2021.

The new league will consist of between six to ten professional teams with plans to reveal the participants over the coming months. The WE League will position as the highest ranking league sitting on top of the current Nadeshiko League, which has been the premier competition for the past three decades.

“The purpose of the launch of the new league is not just the development of women's football in Japan,” said JFA president Kohzo Tashima. “Our aim is to contribute to build a sustainable society through promoting female social participation and enhancing diversities and choices.

“How we contribute to the society through sports is an important mission for all of us in the sports world. We will work on establishing the careers of women's professional footballers, which is the dream of many girls, and further promote women's empowerment and solve social issues.”

The JFA also stipulated that at least one executive per club must be a woman, while females must account for at least half the employees at each team within three years.

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