AFLW to grow to 14 teams in 2020 but warned ‘hard work’ needed for successful expansion
The AFLW has attracted praise for the inclusion of Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast for the 2020 season, but has been warned the success of an expanded 14-team competition cannot rely simply on “passion”.
- The AFL says “continued hard work” is crucial if AFLW expansion is to be successful
- The AFLW is adding six teams across the next two seasons
- Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney will be the only AFL clubs without AFLW teams beyond 2020
The Suns, Tigers, Saints and Eagles are the AFLW’s newest inclusions after meeting financial, talent development and organisational requirements, with each having received provisional licenses last year.
Geelong and North Melbourne will enter the AFLW next year, joining the eight clubs who kicked off the competition in its inaugural season in 2017.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan applauded the addition of the four clubs in 2020 but warned expansion does not guarantee success.
“We congratulate the four successful clubs, but also caution all our industry that this league is still young and requires not just passion, but continued hard work to build solid foundations,” he said in a statement.
“The success of women’s football is ultimately dependent on our whole industry working together.”
AFL head of women’s football Nicole Livingstone said the AFLW had put itself in a strong position to grow the women’s game.
“The confirmation of four new clubs joining the AFLW competition in 2020 is yet another significant step forward and I congratulate the successful clubs,” she said.
“Not only is this further opportunity for the next generation of talented women to play elite Australian football, but also one for fans of the game as we welcome more AFLW teams wearing iconic club colours.”
The confirmation of the expanded AFLW in 2020 ensures Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney are the only AFL clubs without AFLW teams.
But all four clubs expressed interest in joining the AFLW, with the Bombers and Hawks fielding VFLW sides.