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Rachel Corsie: SPFL involvement can only help grow the women’s game

AFC Women will be part of the new women's league within the SPFL
AFC Women will be part of the new women's league within the SPFL

I am optimistic after it was announced this week that the SPFL will take responsibility for the top tiers of the women’s game in Scotland.

There was a clear majority as the team’s voted on their future and now the top two flights will come under the control of the SPFL from Summer.

In addition to the two divisions, a new League Cup will also be inaugurated next season, along with the continuation of the Scottish Cup.

Whilst the men’s game in Scotland has not always painted itself in glory, the transition for the women’s game to fall under the same authority will bring some immediate stability and stature.

Over the past few seasons, the make-up of the Women’s Premier League has started to look rather familiar, as the majority of the sides have a respective SPFL club associated to it anyway.

Add to that, Dundee United sit poised at the top of the Championship and look set to make their way into the top flight for the first time if their form continues.

Women’s game is growing

It is not surprising that since Rangers and Celtic took to the women’s stage with increased interest, that the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts and Motherwell have all followed suit.

Whilst it has taken a couple of seasons for clubs to reap the rewards, the league table now reflects the relatively rapid success from the increased resources that have been invested in an introductory capacity.

With the evidence there, and the sport continuing to be one of the fastest growing in the world, it is a shrewd business move to invest as the game continues to carry unlimited potential.

In Scotland, the game hopes to be given the platform to grow as it aims to compete and challenge internationally – something which will be a limiting barrier if the domestic league continues operating at a largely semi-professional and amateur level.

The desire and demand for a fully professional game is there, and hopefully with the formal support of the SPFL it has a greater chance of meeting those expectations more efficiently and the game can drive forward.

Whilst some may think that the resources are wasted and there is not an audience for the game – those views are considered outdated.

Aberdeen Women have competed well in the SWPL this season

There is evidence of a fan base and one that continues to grow, certainly one that will prosper if our male counterparts are affiliated and the club chooses to properly promote it.

There is also the fact that viewership of the women’s highlights show has seen better figures than the men’s on a number of occasions – but not that it should be considered a competition, because you can watch both on separate nights as football fans.

Some traditionalists won’t like to accept it but this move is one that gives Scotland the best chance to make the most gains across its domestic leagues.

I also think it is a positive cultural move that could help bring more diversity to an industry that has perhaps constrained itself by lacking in that capacity.

The increased commercial and strategic opportunities should bring financial benefits that are immediate and also offer longevity for everyone to see and enjoy.

Scotland looking to bounce back from Wales defeat

It was a difficult start to the past week as I had to put my travel to Spain with the national team on hold.

Unfortunately my return to training came a little too soon in the previous week after testing positive for covid in early February.

It was more difficult having to then watch the first game of the Pinatar Cup against Wales from the sofa as well.

The result certainly wasn’t how the team wanted to start things off and whilst there is an increased workload on the training pitch compared to what might normally be undertaken ahead of an international game, losing against a home nation is always tender to take.

I was fortunately feeling a lot better as the week progressed and joined the team on Thursday as we prepare for our second game against Slovakia today, before the last challenge on Tuesday.

Results are definitely important to the team and we must implement what we have been working on, and also find a way to get the results that we warrant.

The team is currently in the same resort as two years ago, and I can remember being in a room just below the one I am in now.

My room-mate then was Nicola Docherty and we were sat watching the news unfold as the pandemic initially struck mercilessly through Italy.

To be back here brings some perspective after a challenging few years for everyone.

It is always the greatest privilege to be involved with the national team and we all must relish the chance to maximise the opportunity.

Young Scots impress

Both opening games in the Arnold Clark Cup ended in 1-1 draws.

England drew with Canada in what was a fast-paced battle against the Olympic Champions. Meanwhile Germany needed a late equaliser to level with Spain.

Millie Bright got England’s goal, as she drilled in a well-controlled volley from a corner early on.

Substitute, Janine Beckie then equalised in the second-half with an equally impressive finish, as she curled one into the top corner from outside the box.

Two players who have spent significant time developing in the north were on target for Scotland under-17s against Wales.

London Pollard and Bayley Hutchison scored in the 2-0 win.