AS outlined here last Sunday, the ten SWPL 1 clubs have opted not to affiliate to Scottish Women's Football next season. They will instead switch to a subsidiary model run by the SPFL.

Less predictably, they will be joined by all seven teams in SWPL 2 and potentially three more from the Championship. The tentative proposal for 2022-23 is to have a top league of twelve teams and an eight-team second tier.

Should that prove to be the case, there would be no relegation from SWPL 1 at the end of this season, and the top two in SWPL 2 will be promoted. Three Championship teams would be required to join the new step up under this scenario – although, at this very early stage, none of the above is set in stone.

The new era for elite women's football was decided over two meetings on Tuesday evening. The first was attended by the 17 clubs, the SWF board and chief executive Aileen Campbell, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, and the Scottish FA head of girls' and women's football, Fiona McIntyre.

This forum gave the clubs the opportunity to question SWF and the SPFL for one final time, even if many had already decided to join the latter by that stage of the proceedings. The second meeting was for the clubs alone, with all 17 agreeing, albeit at different levels of conviction, that their future lay with the SPFL subsidiary model.

There has been no announcement as yet because some of the clubs had to get ratification from their main boards. All 17 had to also formally write to SWF confirming they will not be affiliating next season, and similarly inform the SPFL of their intentions.

Public confirmation of the switch is, however, expected within the next 48 hours.

It is a momentous decision, and one which will leave SWF with only the Scottish Cup of the three elite competitions to run. The fourth round is being played today, with Celtic v Rangers the headline tie.

Unpalatable though the recent developments must be for SWF, the organisation has been aware since last summer that one of the key aims of SFA's women's strategy was the requirement to implement an improved governance model for the elite competitions by 2022-23.

This was also what the top clubs wanted. Ultimately it was the SPFL who were more proactive in offering proposals which could elevate the top end of the game to a new professional level.

And another thing ...

IT is now 25 days short of two years since Scotland celebrated winning the Pinatar Cup. They won all three games, including the second against higher ranked Iceland.

At that point the bitter disappointment of failing to qualify for the knock-out stages of the World Cup, which would have been a first for any Scottish senior side, was starting to recede. The team was on a five-game winning run, but, because of the pandemic, it was a further seven months before there was the opportunity to play again.

The run stretched to six with a 3-0 Euro qualifying win against Albania at Tynecastle, but it wasn't a good performance and after that it went rapidly downhill. The English-based players, in particular, will feel the pain of failing to qualify – or even come close – when the Euros get underway on July 6 with the hosts playing Austria at Old Trafford.

Nor, it has to be said, has there been much conviction about the opening 2023 World Cup qualifiers. Nevertheless, Scotland sit comfortably second in Group B with the key match for the play-offs being in Ukraine on April 7, assuming the political situation doesn't deteriorate further.

Scotland play Wales at the Pinatar Arena on their return to Murcia on Wednesday, but will almost certainly be without Erin Cuthbert, who scored the only goal when the sides met in a friendly eight months ago. The Chelsea midfielder underwent a scan yesterday (sat) after being helped off with what looked like a bad hamstring injury in Friday night's 0-0 draw with Arsenal; at the time of writing it was hard to envisage she will be able to travel.

Pedro Martinez Losa is already without the injured Lisa Evans, Rachael Boyle and Rachel McLauchlan, while Celtic goalkeeper Chloe Logan is another doubt following her injury against Glasgow City on Thursday night. Logan was called up for the first time on Tuesday after negotiations to recruit Washington Spirit goalkeeper Devon Kerr, who has a Scottish grandfather, fell through.

The head coach will be praying there are no further casualties. Depending on the result against Wales, Scotland will play either Belgium or Slovakia on Saturday.