This Sunday sees the Swansea City Ladies begin their League title defence, as they make the short trip up the M4 to Cyncoed campus, to face last season’s runners up, Cardiff Met Women.
And once again, as per the opening fixture last season, the S4C cameras will be present to broadcast the game live, with coverage beginning 5 minutes prior to the 4:15pm kick-off.
The opening round of fixtures this weekend, takes on added significance, as it sees the start of a new chapter for women’s football in Wales, with the launch of the Genero Adran Leagues.
The honour of officiating the first ever televised Adran Leagues game will fall upon referee Cheryl Foster, who will be assisted by Harry Hendricks and Ashley Davis, with Ben Williams the 4th Official.
A new era for Women’s football in Wales
The new leagues consist of an eight-team top tier, the Adran Premier, which is where the Swans Ladies will once again be looking to be League Champions, following on from their League and Cup double last season.
The decision to restructure, has been made to remove ‘women’s’ from the rebranded league name to create parity across all FAW leagues, making Wales only the third country in Europe to make such a move and the first in the UK. ‘Adran’ continues the FAW’s commitment to using the Welsh language, meaning ‘division’.
The Adran Leagues have been sponsored by Genero, a vibrant production and creative events agency that has been established for 20 years. The two-year deal between Genero and the Adran Leagues is the most lucrative sponsorship of women’s domestic football in Wales to date.
In the Adran Premier, eight teams – Cardiff Met, Cardiff City, Swansea City, Port Talbot Town, The New Saints, Aberystwyth Town, Pontypridd Town and Barry Town United – play home and away.
After these 14 matches, the top four clubs then play against each other and the same for the bottom four clubs, both home and away.
The Adran Premier champion will represent Wales in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The team finishing 8th will be relegated to the Adran South / North.
Watch history being made
The Swans Ladies, fresh from their heroic effort in the Champions League, where they took professional Russian champions WFC CSKA Moscow to extra time and narrowly lost to semi-professional Belarusian champions FC Dinamo Minsk, will travel to Cardiff full of confidence.
S4C’s coverage will start at 4.10pm, following the conclusion of Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belarus and will be hosted by Sioned Dafydd, with Wales and Reading’s Natasha Harding and former Swansea City Academy coach Nia Davies providing guest analysis, while SwansTV Live host Gabriella Jules will provide touchline updates.
Kath Morgan and Mike Davies will provide commentary, while English language commentary will be available on the red button.
Fans wishing to attend the game can do so by purchasing tickets online, with entry being just £3 for Adults and free for Under-16s. Please note that tickets MUST be bought in advance of the game and be presented on the day in order to ensure entry.
Same again for the Swans Ladies?
If previous encounters between the two sides are anything to go by then it will be a tight affair, with the Swans winning the home fixture 1-0 in November 2020, before drawing the reverse fixture 0-0.
With the League title having changed hands between the two sides over recent years, it is once again likely whomever is victorious in the opening encounter will set the pace for the season ahead.
Given the impressive manner in which the Swans Ladies won the League and Cup double last season, and their recent performances in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, it is hard not to install them as favourites to retain their League title and win the inaugural Adran Premier League title.
Of course only time will tell if new Swans Ladies Head Coach Chris Llewellyn can lead his team to silverware this season and another Champions League spot.