SINGAPORE - After a two-year pandemic-enforced absence, the 2022 Deloitte Women's Premier League (WPL) will kick off this weekend with several changes, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Wednesday (May 25).
These include a double round-robin format for the competition that will be played from this Saturday till mid-October.
With seven clubs involved in the league this season, each club will receive a bye week and play a total of 12 games, which will all be held at Yishun Stadium. Entry is free.
Singapore Premier League clubs Hougang United, Balestier Khalsa and Albirex Niigata have incorporated a senior women's team within their set-up and these three sides will join Lion City Sailors, Tiong Bahru, Still Aerion and Tanjong Pagar United in the WPL.
The minimum age of players has been raised from 15 to 16, although there may be exceptions upon written request and approval.
The cap on foreign players will also be increased from three to four per club.
Clubs will be required to register a minimum of 18 players - as compared to 20 previously - and a maximum of 25 players in their squads.
Each team will be allowed to name a maximum of nine substitutes per match, instead of 14 substitutes as in previous seasons.
At least three officials from each club must be in attendance for each game unlike previous season's requirement of one official while head coaches must also meet the requirement of holding an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 'B' license.
In 2019, the minimum requirement for head coaches was having an AFC 'C' license.
The total prize pool has quadrupled, with this season's champions awarded $25,000, while runners-up will receive $10,000 and $7,500 respectively.
This increment was announced at the launch of the WPL earlier this month, when Deloitte was unveiled as the league's first title sponsor.
The audit firm has signed a three-year deal with the league, with an option for two additional years, worth over $300,000.
The season opens on Saturday with Albirex taking on Tanjong Pagar at 5pm, followed by Balestier against Tiong Bahru at 7.30pm.
On Sunday, Hougang meet Still Aerion at 7pm to round off the first match-week.