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Australian FA hand over control to A-League and W-League clubs

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has agreed to relinquish its control of the men’s A-League and women’s W-League to the clubs participating in their respective competitions.

The agreement was first reached in July 2019, however, protracted negotiations led to an official deal between the Australian FA and the countries top flight leagues not being reached until present.

Following the in-principle agreement last year, The New Leagues Working Group, formed by the FFA in October 2018, stated the changes would make way for a ‘new era’ in Australian football and ‘bring about the evolution and reinvigoration of Australia’s professional domestic competitions’.

The control that the clubs will now bestow means that marketing and commercialisation can be overseen independently. It is also expected that outside investment will be sourced as a means of securing the financial futures of clubs who have suffered greatly from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia.

“We are in the final stage of the unbundling process and have reached an agreement with the clubs and member federations,” said FFA chief executive James Johnson.

“The unbundling is now being operationalised and will come into full effect for the start of this coming A-League and W-League season.”

As part of the newly formed agreement, clubs will be made responsible for drawing up the fixture lists alongside the FFA, with clubs having previously made clear their intentions of moving the competitions into the Australian winter.

Additionally, the FFA’s only other involvement will be to act as the leagues’ regulator, providing a final say on matters. A subject that is almost certain to arise is that of promotion and relegation in the leagues.

The 2020/21 A-League and W-League seasons are both set to commence as of December 27, having been delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The 161 men’s matches will be played over 23 weeks, with the Grand Final set for June, and the women’s 57 games will finish with a Grand Final in April.

Author: Jake Wilkin