A shake-up of the top two tiers of women's football in Wales has "devastated" some clubs who found themselves demoted despite a successful season.

The restructure, confirmed today by the Football Association of Wales, involves the creation of two eight-team Tier 2 leagues, one for the north and one for the south, that will play below the eight-strong Tier 1 division.

But the way in which clubs have been allocated to different divisions has prompted an outcry and accusations of unfairness. Last season's results are not the only factor on which the teams' league status has been decided.

Abergavenny Women's FC have been in the top league of Welsh women’s football for nine years, winning twice in that period. In the most recent season, they finished fourth but have still been demoted to the second tier in the restructure.

Club secretary Stuart Summers said: “We’re absolutely gutted. We’ve performed consistently during the nine years in the league and have been the fourth best team and yet we’re being relegated.

“We punch above our weight for a small market town. We don’t have the backing of some of the clubs who are associated with the bigger men’s teams.

"We drew 0-0 with the champions Swansea yesterday. We’re all devastated. We’re not a professional team and we all use our own money to help the club. The girls are all devastated.”

To determine which clubs would take their place in these new leagues, the FAW oversaw an open application process that involved two stages. The first was the initial licence award where clubs provided evidence to show that they met the minimum criteria for each level.

Successful Clubs progressed to Phase 2, presenting their club development plan to a panel of FAW, FAW Trust and FIFA experts who assessed clubs across seven key areas including 'financial sustainability' and 'human resources'.

Lowri Roberts, the FAW’s head of women’s football, said: “Through implementing an open application process for entry into the new leagues, a club’s place was not solely down to sporting merit but also robust club structures.

"It has made clubs review their entire structure, playing pathways and the provision they provide players. As a result, all clubs will be collectively striving to continuously improve standards in a competitive environment.”

The choice of some of the teams included in the premier league has frustrated Mr Summers and the Abergavenny club.

“The New Saints have a club in the league," he said. "However, they disbanded their women’s team 12 months ago and are now advertising for players because they have the premier league licence.

"How can a club that doesn’t have a team get given a place?

“Also, Aberystwyth Town are still in the premier league despite being bottom and only winning one game.

"How are they staying in a ‘competitive league’ over a team who have been up there near the top for years?”

The FAW has been contacted for comment.

Following today's restructure, the teams competing in the women's football pyramid are as follows:

Tier 1: Aberystwyth Town, Barry Town United, Cardiff City, Cardiff Met University, Pontypridd Town, Port Talbot Town, Swansea City, The New Saints.

Tier 2 North: Airbus UK Broughton, Bethel, Connah’s Quay Nomads, Denbigh Town, Llandudno, Llanfair United, Pwllheli, Wrexham.

Tier 2 South: Abergavenny, Briton Ferry Llansawel, Caldicot Town, Cardiff Bluebelles, Cascade YC, Merthyr Town, Talycopa, Swansea University.