The upcoming 2023 season will be the first where professional players are permitted to play in the NIFL Danske Bank Women’s Premiership, it has been confirmed.
The registration period for professional players opens on 6 February and closes on 30 April.
And there will also be a mid-season registration window, from 1 July to 31 July.
Gerard Lawlor, Chief Executive of the NI Football League, said: “To finally reach the point that our female clubs have the same protection and rights as their male colleagues is a landmark milestone in the game and I’m delighted the NI Football League has played a big part in making this happen.
“As we enter a new season with not only professionalism but an expanded 10-team Premiership with licensing introduced in the women’s game, it provides further evidence of the ongoing growth and strides being made by our clubs.”
Angela Platt, Director of Women’s Football at the Irish Football Association, said: “It is an exciting period for the women’s and girls’ game.
“The fact that we’re now gearing up for the first transfer window which will permit professionals to sign for our clubs just shows the positive direction of travel our women’s game is heading in, with our NIFL clubs at the very forefront.”
Up until now the NIFL Women’s Premiership was only open to amateur players. This move means clubs competing in the top flight can have a mix of professional and amateur players going forward.
The 2023 season is due to get under way on Wednesday 19 April.
Image: Action from last season’s Women’s Premiership. This season's Premiership will feature professional players for the first time. Picture courtesy of NIFL.