Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) have announced a feast of Scottish Building Society SWPL One fixtures which are to be broadcast on BBC ALBA in 2020. This comes after MG ALBA’s enhanced broadcast deal which will see them show 12 SWPL matches throughout the new 2020/21 season.
The matches to be broadcast include Glasgow City against Celtic on the opening Sunday (18th October) of the season for a 16:10 kick-off at Broadwood Stadium. This fixture started the 2020 season in dramatic fashion back in February with Celtic captain, Kelly Clark, scoring an injury time winner to defeat the reigning champions 2-1 at K-Park. However, it was to be the only league match either side played with fixtures postponed shortly after due to the coronavirus.
That win got Fran Alonso’s tenure off to a perfect start in the league and he’ll be hoping for another victory against City to showcase their title credentials. After a number of signings before the now void 2020 season, they’ve also added Lewes centre-half, Caitlin Hayes, American forward, Megan Crosson, from Houston Dash, and Atletico Madrid striker, Anita Marcos, who re-joins the Hoops on a season-long loan.
2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarter-Finalists, Glasgow City, have also bolstered their squad since that loss signing former Hibernian forward, Lauren Davidson, full back Zaneta Wyne from Norwegian side Klepp, and South African National Team Captain, Janine van Wyk. Stated by Glasgow City as ‘one of the biggest ever signings in Scottish Women’s Football’, van Wyk has 170 international caps for Banyana Banyana.
Ainslie Park, home to Hibernian Women, will host two live BBC ALBA matches against Rangers and Celtic on Sunday 8th November (16:10 KO) and Friday 20th November (19:35 KO) respectively.
Hibernian Women have undergone one of the most drastic transformations in SWPL One in the last 12 months. Not only has their name changed from Ladies to Women, they brought in a new Head Coach in Dean Gibson and now have nine players who have signed 18 to 24 month contracts with the club. Despite losing a number of influential figures in that time, they’ve also brought in a number of younger players as they look to continue their track record of developing some of Scotland’s top talent. This includes signing Scotland U19’s internationalists, Hannah Scott and Emily Mutch, and Scotland U17’s internationalist, Addie Handley.
With transformations of their own, Rangers are being marked as early contenders to clinch the 2020/21 title. On top of the 13 professional signings they made before the 2020 season, they’ve now added former Hibernian and Manchester United forward, Lizzie Arnot, as well as announcing that Glasgow City players Kirsty Howat, Sam Kerr, and Rachel McLauchlan have all signed pre-contract agreements to join in 2021. While they have lost Gregory Vignal from their coaching team, Malky Thomson remains as Head Coach with Kevin Murphy their new Assistant Coach having joined from Heart of Midlothian.
The final broadcast match of 2020 on BBC ALBA will see a Glasgow derby as City host Rangers on Sunday 13th December for a 16:10 KO. There will likely be no love lost between the two sides given that five Glasgow City players have either moved or are moving to Rangers within the year as well as both sides being tipped for league glory.
Speaking about the announced broadcast games, SWF Interim Executive Officer, Lorna Cameron, said: “We are delighted to confirm these four matches will be shown by BBC ALBA in 2020. These are enthralling ties that I have no doubt will give an early indication about where the title could end up come the end of the season.”
Speaking about the season ahead, Lorna added: “Despite the challenges that the last few months have presented everyone involved in the game, the standard of football within the SWPL continues to thrive. This is down to the support and hard work of so many but particularly BBC ALBA. Their coverage of our game has been unparalleled and we’re delighted they’ve agreed an enhanced deal of 12 SWPL matches in 2020/21. This will continue to grow the visibility of the game and showcase the SWPL in the best way possible.”