The Sydney Swans will apply for a licence to join the AFLW competition in Season Seven, commencing in late 2022.

Following the decision by the AFL Commission to endorse an expanded, 18-team AFLW competition by 2023, Swans CEO Tom Harley confirmed the Club would seek entry into the competition as early as possible.

“We absolutely welcome the AFL Commission’s decision to expand the AFLW competition and the clear message from the Sydney Swans is that we are preparing to join the competition in 2022,” he said.

“That is the loud and clear message from our Board and echoed by our members, fans and corporate partners who are passionate to see the Sydney Swans as part of the AFLW competition,” Harley said.

Mr Harley said the Club had not been in a position to apply for a licence due to very constrained space and lack of appropriate facilities (including changerooms, administration and training area) in its current SCG headquarters.  

“Our current facilities are simply not of sufficient size or standard to ensure we could commit to and develop a fully professional women’s team,” he said.

“However, we have been working through a process for a number of years where we hope to secure new facilities that will enable us to not only provide this capability but to indeed provide what we hope will be one of the best facilities for an AFLW team in the AFLW competition.”


Mr Harley said the Swans had been building up to this moment and were delighted that the timing would now work to create a complete pathway for its youth girls to play football from junior level right up to the most elite competition in the country.

“We took a decision three years ago to commit to a girls academy to provide a pathway for this very moment.

“There are currently 299 girls engaged in our QBE Sydney Swans Academy program, from Under 12s through to the Under 19s who have completed successfully in the NAB League in 2021.”

Clubs seeking an AFLW licence have been given until July 9, 2021 to provide a submission on their readiness to enter the national competition, including detailing their team build strategy, corporate support and facilities.

The Club will engage with all existing stakeholders in our AFLW ambition, including members, corporate partners and government to ensure its submission has the best chance of success.

The AFL Commission is expected to make a decision on the club submissions at its meeting in August this year.