W-League (Australia)

Last updated

W-League
W-League logo.svg
Founded25 October 2008;12 years ago (25 October 2008)
First season 2008–09
Country Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia
Confederation Asian Football Confederation
Number of teams 9
Level on pyramid 1
International cup(s) AFC Women's Club Championship
Current champions Melbourne Victory (2nd title)
(2020–21)
Current premiers Sydney FC (3rd title)
(2020–21)
Most championships Melbourne City (4 titles)
Most premierships Brisbane Roar
Canberra United
Sydney FC
(3 titles)
TV partners Network 10 (Australia)
Paramount+
(Australia and New Zealand)
Three (New Zealand)
beIN Sports (Southeast Asia)
Australia TV (Pacific Islands)
Pasifika TV (Pacific Islands)
BT Sport (Ireland and UK)
ESPN+ (USA)
YouTube (Non-Broadcast Regions)
Website w-league.com.au
Current: 2020–21 W-League

The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia. The W-League was established in 2008 by Football Federation Australia and was composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an A-League club, and the other was a new entity based in Canberra. The league is currently contested by nine teams. The competition is known as the Westfield W-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Westfield Group.

Contents

Seasons typically run from November to February and include a 12-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 'Premier' and the winner of the grand final is 'Champion'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of five clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and five clubs have been crowned W-League Champions.

Melbourne Victory are the current Champions. Sydney FC are the current premiers.

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. [1] Football Federation Australia established the league the following year. [2] 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. [3]

The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth hosting Sydney at Members Equity Stadium. [4] 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 and have yet to return. [5]

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. [6] The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final. [7]

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. [8]

Competition format

The W-League regular season typically runs from November to February and consists of 12 games per team, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premier". [9] The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the single-game knockout semifinals, with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final. [10]

Broadcasting rights

From the 2019–20 season, ABC TV has 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. [11] Fox Sport's contract with the A-League, which was renegotiated in June 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, concludes in July 2021. [12]

From August 2021, the A-League and W-League signed a five-year deal with ViacomCBS giving broadcast rights to Network 10 (one A-League match on 10, one W-League match on 10 Bold) and Paramount+ (all of the other games) streaming service. [13]

Clubs

Current clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coachCaptainHighest
finish
Most recent
finish
Adelaide United Adelaide, South Australia West Beach Parks Football Centre
Marden Sports Complex
3,000
6,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Adrian Stenta Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dylan Holmes 5th5th
Brisbane Roar Brisbane, Queensland Moreton Daily Stadium
Lions Stadium, Brisbane
Lang Park
11,500
5,000
52,500
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Jake Goodship Flag of Australia (converted).svg Clare Polkinghorne 1st2nd
Canberra United Canberra, Australian Capital Territory McKellar Park
Deakin Stadium
3,500
1,500
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Vicki Linton Flag of the United States.svg Kendall Fletcher 1st4th
Melbourne City Melbourne, Victoria Frank Holohan Soccer Complex [14]
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
2,000
30,050
2015 2015 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Rado Vidošić Flag of Australia (converted).svg Emma Checker 1st7th
Melbourne Victory Melbourne, Victoria Lakeside Stadium
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
John Ilhan Memorial Reserve
Docklands Stadium
10,000
5,000
5,000
53,300
2008 2008 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Jeff Hopkins Flag of Australia (converted).svg Angela Beard 1st3rd
Newcastle Jets Newcastle, New South Wales Wanderers Oval
Adamstown Oval
2,000
2,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ash Wilson Flag of Australia (converted).svg Cassidy Davis
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Gema Simon
2nd8th
Perth Glory Perth, Western Australia Dorrien Gardens
Hay Park, Bunbury
Perth Oval
4,000

20,500
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Alexander Epakis Flag of Australia (converted).svg Natasha Rigby 1st9th
Sydney FC Sydney, New South Wales Jubilee Stadium
Leichhardt Oval
Seymour Shaw Park
Cromer Park
20,505
20,000
5,000
5,000
2008 2008 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ante Juric Flag of Australia (converted).svg Teresa Polias 1st1st
Western Sydney Wanderers Sydney, New South Wales Marconi Stadium
Campbelltown Stadium
11,000
21,000
2012 2012 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dean Heffernan Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caitlin Cooper 3rd6th
Former clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedDissolvedLast head coachLast captainHighest
finish
Most recent
finish
Central Coast Mariners Gosford, New South Wales Central Coast Stadium 20,0592008 2008 2009 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stephen Roche Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caitlin Cooper 2nd2nd

Performance record

Performance and ranking of clubs based on their best regular season result in the W-League.

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
1 Brisbane Roar 1st (three times)1322146471252
2 Canberra United 1st (three times)3431513215864
3 Sydney FC 1st (three times)4113424332331
4 Melbourne City 1st (twice)144517
5 Melbourne Victory 1st5544332997123
6 Perth Glory 1st7656251826479
7 Newcastle Jets 2nd2865785653798
8 Central Coast Mariners 2nd62
9 Western Sydney Wanderers 3rd678788936
10 Adelaide United 5th (twice)8777867569685

Legend: Team names in italics indicates the club is no longer a current W-League member.

Organisation

Squad formation and salaries

A W-League 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 W-League's off-season. Due to the W-League's season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in the W-League and vice versa.

In 2015, teams in the W-League had a salary cap of A$150,000. [15] Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing. [16] In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. [17] Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional. [18]

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. [19]

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. [20] 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. [21] For the first time ever W-League games would be broadcast on YouTube and Twitter in territories without a traditional broadcast partner. [22] Since July 2019, Foxtel has broadcast all matches and ABC has broadcast one match per round live on its primary channel. [23]

Referees

The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. Current referees include:

Honours

W-League winners
SeasonPremiers (regular season winners)Champions (Grand Final winners)
2008–09 Queensland Roar 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

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

Records

Most Appearances

As of 21 March 2020 (end of 2019–20 post-season). [25] Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the W-League.

RankPlayerAppearances
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Teresa Polias 144
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Clare Polkinghorne 140
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tameka Yallop 128
4 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ellie Brush 127
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Stephanie Catley
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Gema Simon
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caitlin Cooper 125
8 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Laura Brock 123
9 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Shannon May 120
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lydia Williams

Top scorers

As of 31 March 2021. Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the W-League.

RankPlayerGoals
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michelle Heyman 72
2 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Samantha Kerr 70
3 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tameka Yallop 55
4 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kyah Simon 50
5 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kate Gill 42
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Leena Khamis
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ashleigh Sykes 41
8 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lisa De Vanna 39
9 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Tara Andrews 34
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caitlin Foord

See also

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References

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