With an eye toward inclusion and growing the game, Australia’s top-flight soccer leagues are banding together under one name.
The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and Australian Professional Leagues (APL) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 29, that they were uniting the country’s top men’s, women’s and youth club soccer leagues under the banner of “A-Leagues.”
Previously, only the men’s league was known as the A-League, while the top women’s league was known as the W-League and the top youth league was dubbed the Y-League. Now, they will be known as “A-League Men,” “A-League Women” and “A-League Youth,” respectively.
“It’s not men’s football, or women’s football. It’s just football,” APL managing director Danny Townsend said on the A-Leagues’ website. “We’re committed to growing the game in Australia — for everyone. That means delivering a world-class experience on and off the pitch and inspiring the next-generation of A-Leagues superstars to fulfil their highest potential. This is just the beginning of our ambitious, long-term vision for the growth of football in Australia.”
That vision also includes:
- expanding the A-League Women by three teams over the next two years;
- launching a new Club Championship competition; and
- ratifying a Collective Bargaining Agreement with players.
The new A-Leagues logo will appear on the jerseys of every club in the leagues. It will appear in gold on the jerseys of league champions the year after winning their respective grand finals.
Clubs have been rolling out new kits over the past few months in anticipation of 2021-22 league seasons kicking off in late November or early December. The league logo change explains the gold paint splotch covering a portion of defending men’s champions Melbourne City FC’s jersey in an unveiling video posted to Twitter on Sept. 20.
A-League Men consists of 12 teams for the 2021-22 season, while A-League Women has 10 teams, including defending champs Melbourne Victory.
A-League Youth is for male players under 21 years of age, and was last played in 2019-20, with Sydney FC prevailing in a format that featured 10 teams in two groups. Its 2020-21 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Feature photo courtesy A-League.com.au