A-League Women

Last updated

A-League Women
Founded25 October 2008;14 years ago (25 October 2008)
First season 2008–09
CountryAustralia (11 teams)
Other club(s) fromNew Zealand (1 team)
Confederation Asian Football Confederation
Number of teams 12
Level on pyramid 1
International cup(s) AFC Women's Club Championship
Current champions Melbourne Victory (3rd title)
(2021–22)
Current premiers Sydney FC (4th title)
(2021–22)
Most championships Melbourne City (4 titles)
Most premierships Sydney FC (4 titles)
TV partners Network 10 (Australia)
Paramount+
(Australia)
Three (New Zealand)
Spark Sport (New Zealand)
beIN Sports (Southeast Asia)
Australia TV (Pacific Islands)
Pasifika TV (Pacific Islands)
BT Sport (Ireland and UK)
Eleven Sports (Canada and USA)
YouTube (non-broadcast regions)
Website keepup.com.au
Current: 2022–23 A-League Women

A-League Women (known as the Liberty A-League for sponsorship reasons), formerly the W-League, is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia. The W-League was established in 2008 by Football Australia (then known as Football Federation Australia) and was originally composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an existing A-League Men club. As of the 2021–22 season, the league is contested by ten teams. The league, as well as the A-League Men and A-League Youth are administered by the Australian Professional Leagues. [1]

Contents

Seasons now run from November to April and include a 22-round regular season and an end-of-season finals series playoff tournament involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a Grand Final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed 'premiers' and the winner of the grand final is dubbed 'champions'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of five clubs have been crowned premiers and five clubs have been crowned champions. It has been currently running in a semi-professional basis, but talks about professionalisation has been emerging, beginning with the name change and placing of all women's clubs into one single Australian Professional Leagues operation and management in 2021, which served as the precursors for complete transition to professionalism of the A-League Women. [2] [3]

Sydney FC are the current premiers, having won their fourth title; Melbourne Victory are the current champions, having won their third title.

History

Between 1996 and 2004 the Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) was Australia's top women's soccer league. In 2004 it was discontinued alongside the men's National Soccer League.

After Australia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, head coach Tom Sermanni felt the establishment of a professional league was vital for continuing the development of players. [4] Football Federation Australia established the league the following year. [5] The W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was Canberra United. [6]

The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth hosting Sydney at Members Equity Stadium. [7] After ten rounds, the regular season finished with Queensland Roar as the top-placed team, becoming the first W-League premiers, and advancing to the semi-finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams. Queensland faced Canberra in the 2009 W-League grand final, defeating them 2–0 to take the champions trophy.

Central Coast Mariners were forced to withdraw from the 2010–11 season due to a lack of funding, [8] but are scheduled to return in 2022–23. [9]

When Western Sydney Wanderers joined the A-League for the 2012–13 season, they also entered a team into the W-League, returning the competition to eight teams. From 2012 to 2014, the W-League champion team qualified into an international competition, the International Women's Club Championship.

On 13 May 2015, Melbourne City were confirmed to compete in the W-League from the 2015–16 season. [10] The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final. [11]

From the inception of the competition the league was run by Football Federation Australia, the governing body for the sport in Australia. In July 2019, the FFA relinquished operational control of the league to each of the clubs, represented by the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association. [12]

Wellington Phoenix were announced as an expansion club for the 2021–22 A-League Women season. [13] Along with Central Coast Mariners, Western United will also join the league for the 2022–23 A-League Women season, [14] which will expand the league to 12 teams.

Competition format

The A-League Women regular season typically runs from November to April and consists of 20 games per team, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premier". [15] The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the single-game knockout semi-finals, with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final. [16] On 12 December 2022, the Australian Professional Leagues announced that the grand finals for the 2022–23, 2023–2024 and 2024–25 seasons would be hosted in Sydney, [17] a move which received considerable backlash. [18] [19]

Broadcasting rights

In the 2019–20 season, ABC TV broadcast one game per weekend. Fourteen rounds of that season were broadcast at 4pm on Sundays, as well as the whole W-League 2020 Finals Series. [20] Fox Sport's contract with the A-League, which was renegotiated in June 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, concluded in July 2021. [21]

Since August 2021, as part of a five-year deal with ViacomCBS, the A-Leagues have been broadcast by Network 10 and Paramount+ (Australia) streaming service. [22] As of the 2022–23 season, Paramount and Network 10's free-to-access streaming service 10Play stream all matches. [23]

In New Zealand, A-League Men and A-League Women matches are broadcast on Sky Sport/beIN Sports.

Clubs

Current clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coachCaptainHighest
finish
Most recent
finish
Adelaide United Adelaide,
South Australia
ServiceFM Stadium
Coopers Stadium
7,000
17,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adrian Stenta Flag of Australia (converted).svg Isabel Hodgson 5th5th
Brisbane Roar Brisbane,
Queensland
Moreton Daily Stadium
Perry Park, Brisbane
11,500
5,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Garrath McPherson Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ayesha Norrie 1st2nd
Canberra United Canberra, ACT McKellar Park 3,5002008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Njegosh Popovich Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michelle Heyman 1st4th
Melbourne City Melbourne, Victoria Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
AAMI Park
3,300
30,050
2015 2015 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dario Vidošić (caretaker) Flag of Australia (converted).svg Emma Checker 1st7th
Melbourne Victory Melbourne, Victoria AAMI Park 30,0502008 2008 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Jeff Hopkins Flag of the United States.svg Kayla Morrison 1st3rd
Newcastle Jets Newcastle,
New South Wales
Wanderers Oval
Adamstown Oval
McDonald Jones Stadium
2,000
2,000
33,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Gary van Egmond (caretaker) Flag of Australia (converted).svg Cassidy Davis 2nd8th
Perth Glory Perth,
Western Australia
Macedonia Park 7,0002008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Alexander Epakis Flag of Australia (converted).svg Natasha Rigby 1st9th
Sydney FC Sydney,
New South Wales
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Leichhardt Oval
Seymour Shaw Park
Cromer Park
20,500
20,000
5,000
5,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ante Juric Flag of Australia (converted).svg Natalie Tobin 1st1st
Wellington Phoenix Wellington,
New Zealand
Sky Stadium 34,500
23,000
2021 2021 Flag of England.svg Natalie Lawrence Flag of New Zealand.svg Lily Alfeld 10th10th
Western Sydney Wanderers Sydney,
New South Wales
CommBank Stadium
Blacktown Football Park
Marconi Stadium
30,000
500
9,000
2012 2012 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kat Smith Flag of Australia (converted).svg Clare Hunt 3rd6th
Western United Wyndham, Victoria GMHBA Stadium 36,0002021 2022 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Mark Torcaso Flag of the Philippines.svg Jaclyn Sawicki TBDTBD
Future clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoining
Central Coast Mariners Gosford, New South Wales Central Coast Stadium
Pluim Park
20,059
2,200 [24]
2008 2023-24 [25]

Performance record

Performance and ranking of clubs based on their best regular season result in the W-League and A-League Women. The 2021–22 season is Wellington Phoenix's first season.

RankClubBest Result 08–09 09 10–11 11–12 12–13 13–14 14 15–16 16–17 17–18 18–19 19–20 20–21 21–22
1 Sydney FC 1st (four times)41134243323311
2 Brisbane Roar 1st (three times)13221464712526
3 Canberra United 1st (three times)34315132158647
4 Melbourne City 1st (twice)1445172
5 Melbourne Victory 1st55443329971234
6 Perth Glory 1st76562518264795
7 Newcastle Jets 2nd28657856537988
8 Central Coast Mariners 2nd62
9 Western Sydney Wanderers 3rd6787889369
10 Adelaide United 3rd87778675696853
11 Wellington Phoenix 10th10

Organisation

Squad formation and salaries

An A-League Women squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players.[ citation needed ] Players typically receive a one-season contract,[ citation needed ] with many playing in leagues in other countries during the A-League Women off-season. Due to the A-League Women season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in A-League Women and vice versa.

In 2015, teams in what was then the W-League had a salary cap of A$150,000. [26] Individual player salaries varied, with one player reporting to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing. [27] In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. [28] Players could also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional. [29]

Some clubs are owned by their state soccer associations including Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.[ citation needed ]

For the 2017–18 season a minimum salary was introduced at A$10,000. The average salary therefore rose from A$15,500 to A$17,400. A salary cap was set at A$300,000. [30]

The total salary floor, or minimum salary spend, for the 2020-21 season rose to A$294,000, growing to A$315,000 in the 2021-22 season, with a salary cap of A$450,000, as part of a five year deal that will see the salary floor rise to A$390,000 by 2025-26. [31] The deal also included improved standards in training venues, travel and accommodation, high performance staffing, and player workloads. [31] The A-League Women minimum annual wage in 2021 is A$17,055. [32]

Stadiums

A-League Women games have been played in 33 stadiums since the inaugural season of the A-League.

Broadcasting

The 2018–19 season marked the first time that fans were able to watch every W-League game. All matches were broadcast or streamed on Fox Sports, SBS Viceland and the My Football Live app. Thursday Night Football was also introduced, meaning 13 stand-alone regular season matches will be played in prime-time and broadcast live on Fox Sports. [33] The Football Federation Australia (FFA) reached a deal with ESPN+ for broadcast rights to W-League games in the United States. ESPN+ will carry at least 17 W-League matches in the 2018–19 season. [34] For the first time ever W-League games would be broadcast on YouTube and Twitter in territories without a traditional broadcast partner. [35] From July 2019 to the end of the 2020–21 season, Foxtel broadcast all matches with ABC broadcasting one match per round live on its primary channel. [36]

From the 2021–22 season onward, A-League Women will be streamed on Paramount+ with Sunday afternoon matches broadcast on 10 Bold, after Network 10 acquired the rights to both A-League Men and Women competitions. [37]

Referees

A-League Women features women referees and assistant referees from Australia. Current referees include:

Honours

W-League and A-League Women winners
SeasonPremiers (regular season winners)Champions (Grand Final winners)
2008–09 Queensland Roar [lower-alpha 1] Queensland Roar
2009 Sydney FC Sydney FC
2010–11 Sydney FC Brisbane Roar
2011–12 Canberra United Canberra United
2012–13 Brisbane Roar Sydney FC
2013–14 Canberra United Melbourne Victory
2014 Perth Glory Canberra United
2015–16 Melbourne City Melbourne City
2016–17 Canberra United Melbourne City
2017–18 Brisbane Roar Melbourne City
2018–19 Melbourne Victory Sydney FC
2019–20 Melbourne City Melbourne City
2020–21 Sydney FC Melbourne Victory
2021–22 Sydney FC Melbourne Victory

Records

Most appearances

As of 1 December 2021 (prior to commencement of 2021–22 A-League Women season). [39] Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the A-League Women.

RankPlayerAppearances
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Teresa Polias 157
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Clare Polkinghorne 152
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tameka Yallop 139
4 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Gema Simon 138
5 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caitlin Cooper 137
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ellie Brush 132
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kim Carroll 128
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Leena Khamis
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Marianna Tabain
10 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stephanie Catley 127
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michelle Heyman

Top scorers

As of 1 December 2021 (prior to commencement of 2021–22 A-League Women season). Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the A-League Women.

RankPlayerGoals
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michelle Heyman 73
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Samantha Kerr 70
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tameka Yallop 58
4 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kyah Simon 50
5 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Emily Gielnik 46
6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Leena Khamis 44
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kate Gill 42
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lisa De Vanna
9 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ashleigh Sykes 41
10 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tara Andrews 39

See also

Notes

  1. Queensland Roar changed their name to Brisbane Roar for the 2009 season onwards.

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