Premier League clubs in the south will compete for a place in the Super League without last season’s champions.
Coventry City, who pipped Gillingham to the title on the final day, have been moved to the league’s northern counterpart for the 2014/15 season by a geographical quirk of fate.
City, who play at Bedworth United and occasionally at the Ricoh Arena, are replaced in the southern division ironically by another team from the West Midlands city – Copsewood, who are based a few miles further south than their neighbours, and therefore will tot up slightly fewer miles for their away games – the chief criterion used to determine geographical inclusion.
Copsewood, inevitably the northernmost team in the new-look FAW Premier League Southern, were promoted after winning the Midland Combination last season by 13 points.
Other newcomers in a division increased from 11 to 12 clubs, are Plymouth Argyle, who won the South West Combination and Queens Park Rangers, who won the South East Combination (now the FAW Premier League South West and South East respectively).
The other team to depart the division are Chesham United, who finished bottom.
As disclosed this week, the winners of this season’s league will play off against the winners of the Premier League’s northern division for a place in the 2016 Women’s Super League Division 2 (subject to licensing requirements).
Reserves league doubles
While there are plenty of changes at first-team level, with Brighton and Lewes both appointing new managers and Gillingham yet to do so, there is an even more radical overhaul of the Premier Reserve League.
The division is doubling in size, with all six of last season’s teams joined by Bedford, from the Bedford & Herts WFL, C&K Basildon, from the Eastern Region Division One South, Crystal Palace, from the Surrey Women & Girls League, plus Chichester City Development, who have formed from the former Chichester City Reserves, who won last season’s South East Counties Regional Division One West.
In addition, there are two completely new teams – Queens Park Rangers have reintroduced a reserve team after their first team moved back into the Premier League, and Lewes have created a development side, which will comprise largely under-23s plus some fringe first-team players.
Combination under FA banner
The newly designated FAWPL South West loses Plymouth to the Premier League Southern and University of Portsmouth, who struggled to fulfil their fixtures during the latter part of last season and finished bottom with just three points.
The newcomers are Cheltenham Town, who were runners-up in the South West Women’s Premier League, and St Nicholas, who won the title.
The south’s FAW Premier League set-up (2014/15)
|FAWPL Southern||FAWPL Reserves Southern||FAWPL Div 1 SW|
|Brighton & HA||Bedford||Cheltenham Town|
|Cardiff City||Brighton & HA||Chichester City|
|Charlton Athletic||C&K Basildon||Exeter City|
|Copsewood (Coventry)||Charlton Athletic||Forest Green Rovers|
|Gillingham||Chichester City Development||Keynsham Development|
|Keynsham Town||Crystal Palace||Larkhall Athletic|
|Plymouth Argyle||Lewes Development||Shanklin|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Tottenham Hotspur||Swindon Town|
|West Ham United||West Ham United|