AFLW set for expansion by 2023
All 18 AFL clubs are set to have an AFL Women's side by 2023, after the AFL commission approved plans for further expansion of the compeition.
The current AFL women's' competition has 14 clubs, with Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, Essendon and Sydney the clubs currently without an AFLW side.
The AFL on Thursday announced it has called for submissions from those four clubs to join the women's competition.
The clubs have been asked to detail their readiness, list-building strategy, corporate support and facilities for women's football.
The submissions are due on July 9, with the AFL Commission set to make decisions on those bids in August.
From 2022 the AFL Women's competition will be bought forward on the calendar to avoid overlapping with the AFL men's competition, with the season set to commence in December with ten rounds to be played followed by three weeks of finals, the Grand Final to be played in Mid-March.
"AFLW has significant momentum and we want to keep that momentum and bring the power and the supporter base behind all 18 clubs before the end of 2024," AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said.
"The standard of play has continued to lift as we have expanded the competition and we are seeing more free-flowing and attacking football as more talent comes through the pathways."
AFL general manager of women's football Nicole Livingstone dismissed concerns over the talent pool being further stretched, with AFLW to expand from 420 players to 540 within two years.
The league is yet to finalise rules around AFLW player contracting ahead of the expansion phase.
"You've got a lot of girls coming through that have now played right through from Auskick to AFLW and there's a lot of girls coming through the system," Livingstone said.
"We've invested heavily in the talent pathways and those now look very equal to the boys' pathways.
"We're very proud of that piece of work that we've done to accelerate those girls coming through the system."
More news on the viability of expansion before season seven in late 2022 is expected in the coming months.
IMAGE: Fox Sports.