England Lioness players GBE

Changes to Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) criteria for the women's game

Prior to the commencement of the new 2023/2024 Women’s Super League (WSL) and the Women’s Championship seasons, the FA has made a few significant changes to the Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) criteria for the women’s game.

Changes to the GBE requirement

  • Increase of league bandings from two to three  

While the main GBE points criteria will remain in place for overseas players hoping to come and play in the WSL or the Women’s Championship, the FA have introduced a third domestic league banding. The introduction of a third domestic league banding could essentially help young overseas players who haven’t played in either of the top two banding leagues in obtaining the required 24 points to meet the GBE criteria.

For reference purposes, the domestic league bands within the women’s game are:

Band 1 - English Women’s Super League, French Feminine Division 1, German Frauen Bundesliga, US National Women’s Soccer League, Spanish Women’s Primera Division, Swedish Damallsvenskan, and the Dutch Vrouwen Eredivisie.

Band 2 - Australian W League, Brazilian Serie A, Danish Elitedivisionen, Italian Femminile Serie A, Japanese Nadeshiko League, Mexican Liga MX Femenil and the Norwegian Toppserien.

Band 3 include all senior domestic leagues not in Band 1 or Band 2.

The addition of a third band will be welcomed by clubs and overseas players.

  • The addition of a youth player exceptions panel

Unlike the GBE criteria for the men’s game, the women’s game doesn’t provide a separate set of criteria for youth female players; however, the new GBE changes will now include a youth player Exceptions Panel for the 2023/24 season. The Exceptions Panel will provide clubs with access to high potential players who might fall outside the current criteria, but are of proven ability.

The Exceptions Panel shall only recommend that a GBE be granted if the youth player shows significant potential and is of elite quality to enhance the development of the game in England.

Reasons for the changes by the FA

The FA hopes that the changes to the GBE criteria within the women’s game will allow clubs an increased opportunity to develop the world’s best young players here in our English leagues, while ensuring the development pathway is not blocked for the next generation of young English players.

Baroness Sue Campbell, FA Director of Women’s Football commented:

"To continue developing women’s football in England it is important that we have a thriving Women’s Super League and Championship that attracts the world’s best players. We must also ensure that there is a pathway for young English talent to fulfil their potential by playing in our professional senior game.”

When will the changes come into force?

The changes will apply for the upcoming 2023/24 season and will be effective from 26 June 2023.

The FA’s changes from a personal viewpoint

As a coach of an under 14’s girls football team, positive changes by the FA in helping to enhance the women’s game will be welcomed if it means that that one day my talented “AFC Burnden Wildcats” players make it to the women’s Super League, and hopefully represent the “Lionesses” at a global level. Watch this space….

If you would like to speak with an expert immigration lawyer about a Sportsperson Visa or in relation to a Governing Body Endorsement, call Latitude Law on 0300 131 6767 now or complete our online enquiry form below.

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