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JFA unveils Japan’s first women’s professional league, AXA sponsors Swiss women’s league

The Japan Football Association has unveiled plans for the country’s first-ever women’s professional league, which will be known as the ‘WE League – Women Empowerment League’.

The round robin competition will kick off in autumn 2021 with a home-and-away format and will sit above the Nadeshiko League, the existing top-tier league, in the new structure.

Between six and ten teams will take part with no relegation for ‘several years’ but promotion from lower levels. The teams that will make up the top flight will be announced later this year.

Tashima Kohzo, the JFA president, said: “The purpose of the launch of the new league is not just the development of women’s football in Japan. 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 to establish the career of women’s professional footballer, which is the dream of many girls, and further promote women’s empowerment and solve social issues.”

Japan, one of the dominant forces in the women’s game, is bidding to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Football Federation (SFV) has unveiled AXA, the multinational insurance firm, as the first major sponsorship partner of the top-tier women’s league in Switzerland.

AXA has signed a two-year contract to become the title sponsor of the women’s Ligue Nationale A and the women’s Swiss Cup final. The deal takes effect at the start of the 2020-21 season.

The competitions will be known as the AXA Women’s Super League and the AXA Women’s Cup Final.