New Japanese Women’s League to Champion Equality

A fully-professional Japanese women’s league is set to lead the world in support of organisational equality.

Today the Japanese Football Association announced the establishment of the WE League or Women’s Empowerment League. 

The new club competition offers players a chance to earn competitive wages. It also gives women more decision-making opportunities within each organisation.

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The Japanese Football Association will ensure every team has at least one female executive. They will also transition so women occupy half their staff within the first three years.

Many former Japanese National team players will more than likely join the league hierarchy.

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The WE League will mirror Europe’s football timetable. The new league will start in September 2021.

It will operate as the country’s top flight, while the already established Nadeshiko League will now become the second division.

The men’s J-league and current women’s Nadeshiko League operate in the middle of the year.

New League a Major First Step

President of the JFA Tashima Kohzo said the new Women’s Football league was a major step to creating a more balanced society.

“The purpose of the launch of the new league is not just the development of women’s football in Japan,” he said.

“Our aim is to contribute to build a sustainable society through promoting female social participation and enhancing diversities and choices. 

“How we contribute to society through sports is an important mission for all of us in the sports world. We will work to establish the career of a women’s professional footballer, which is the dream of many girls, and further promote women’s empowerment and solve social issues.”

Teams in the WE League will operate on budgets of about ¥450 million (USD4.1 million), which is a stark comparison to the Nadeshiko League. 

INAC Kobe Leonessa is the only current team whose player’s primary source of income is from the club itself. 

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The new league will consist of six to 10 teams with no relegation in the first few years. However, there will be promotion from the lower leagues.

The JFA will announce the teams for the new Japanese women’s league later this year.

Japan is also competing to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup. They face stiff competition from Brazil, Columbia and a joint Australia/New Zealand bid.

FIFA will reveal the tournament hosts on June 25.

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