NWSL is considering reproductive rights as part of the enlargement process

National Women’s Soccer League commissioner Jessica Berman said Thursday that reproductive rights will be considered when the league looks at rankings for possible expansion teams.

The league, which currently has 12 teams, is looking to add two more in 2024.

A ruling by the US Supreme Court last month removed constitutional protection from abortion, which is likely to lead to abortion bans in about half of the states. There are concerns that some states may also move to limit some contraceptive options and procedures such as in vitro fertilization.

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“It’s one of the things that we’re actually analyzing at the moment, and that’s even looking at our current markets to see where we have some differentiation between our values ​​and what we’re behind in relation to where we are. “have teams placed and what are the solutions. we can put in place that we feel comfortable with, we can commit to and perform on,” Berman said. “Surely in the context of expansion, that would be part of the analysis.”

NWSL’s board met this week to look at the league’s condition and discuss changes. Among the points discussed was the intention to expand the league to 14 teams.

The league’s Houston Dash is located in Texas, where abortion is actually banned, and Racing Louisville plays in Kentucky, where a ban has been challenged in court. It also has a team in Florida that has banned abortions after 15 weeks, in Orlando Pride.

The board also committed to developing and improving the league referee, including the use of a video-assisted referee for matches starting in 2023.

“Based on the data and everything I have learned over the last two and a half months, it is clear that the introduction and implementation of VAR is probably the most important thing we could do to improve the consistency and quality of the officiating. “said Berman.

NWSL also discusses the league schedule, which Berman called one of NWSL’s “pain points.” Because the league plays from spring to fall, many players miss matches for tournaments, including the World Cup – and teams are left without some of their biggest stars.

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