League of Ireland clubs in the Women’s National League can offer players professional contracts for the first time, the FAI has announced. Once the league’s registration period for the 2023 season opens on December 1st, teams will have the option to contract full-time or part-time professional players or amateur players depending on the circumstances of each club - there is no obligation to offer professional deals.
The move ensures that clubs who lose players to other professional outfits, such as the Women’s Super League in England, will receive a transfer fee for their player. Loan moves from players in other professional leagues into the Women’s National League can now take place while the contracts also ensure certainty that any given player will be signed for a full season.
Any newly professional players will be subject to the same standard player contract and minimum wage regulations as male players in the League of Ireland.
A working group to monitor the implementation of any contracts will also be set up.
Commenting on the news, League of Ireland Director, Mark Scanlon, said: “The announcement of professional contracts for SSE Airtricity Women’s National League players will prove to be a significant milestone in the history of the game here and comes at an apt time as our Women’s National Team, which features many of our WNL players, gets ready to compete at the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023.
“Clubs will now be able to provide certainty and a platform for growth for their players as they look to progress on and off the pitch. We look forward to working with all our League of Ireland clubs to help ease this exciting transition.”
Clubs wishing to sign players on professional contracts in the Women’s National League will now also be subject to domestic training compensation regulations which are in place for the first time a player changes their status from amateur to professional.
Club licensing criteria will also apply to ensure that the change of status from amateur to professional is regulated and clubs will be subjected to salary cost protocols in order to be compliant with financial fair play regulations.