The A-League is the highest-level professional men's soccer league in Australia. At the top of the Australian league system, it is the country's primary competition for the sport. The A-League was established in 2004 by Football Federation Australia (FFA) as a successor to the National Soccer League (NSL) and competition commenced in August 2005. The league is currently contested by twelve teams; eleven based in Australia and one based in New Zealand. From its inception until the end of the 2019–20 season, the league was known as the Hyundai A-League through a series of sponsorship arrangements with the Hyundai Motor Company.[1]

Hyundai A-League logo (2017–2020).svg
FoundedApril 2004; 16 years ago (April 2004)
First season2005–06
CountryAustralia (11 teams)
Other club(s) fromNew Zealand (1 team)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Domestic cup(s)FFA Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
Current championsSydney FC (5th title)
Current premiersSydney FC (4th title)
Most championshipsSydney FC (5 titles)
Most premiershipsSydney FC (4 titles)
Most appearancesAndrew Durante (333)
Top goalscorerBesart Berisha (135)
TV partnersFox Sports (Australia)
ABC (Australia)
Sky Sport (New Zealand and Pacific)
Prime (New Zealand)
beIN Sports (New Zealand and Southeast Asia)
ESPN+ (United States)
YouTube (Non-Broadcast Regions)
2020–21 A-League

Seasons run from October to May and include a 26-round regular season followed by a Finals Series playoff involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed the 'Premier' while the winner of the grand final is the season's 'Champion'. This differs from the other major football codes in Australia, where 'premier' refers to the winner of the grand final and the winner of the regular season is the 'minor premier'.

Successful A-League clubs gain qualification into the Asian continental club competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) also known as "AFC Champions League", in 2014 the Western Sydney Wanderers became the first and only winning Australian club. Similar to the United States and Canada's Major League Soccer, as well as other professional sports leagues in Australia, Australia's A-League does not practice promotion and relegation.

Since the league's inaugural season, a total of seven clubs have been crowned A-League Premiers and six clubs have been crowned A-League Champions. The current premier is Sydney FC, who finished first in the 2019–20 A-League, equalling the record of four domestic premierships held by Melbourne Knights and Perth Glory. The current champions are Sydney FC, who won the 2020 A-League Grand Final, a record fifth championship.



A national round-robin tournament existed in various forms prior to the formation of the A-League, with the most notable being the National Soccer League (NSL). The formation of the NSL came after Australia's qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, which led to discussion of a national league, with 14 teams eventually chosen to participate in the inaugural season of the NSL in 1977.[2]

Under the guidance of the then-governing body, the Australian Soccer Federation (later Soccer Australia), the NSL flourished through the 1980s and early 1990s but then fell into decline with the increasing departure of Australian players to overseas leagues, a disastrous television deal with the Seven Network and the resulting lack of sponsorship.[3] Few clubs continued to grow with Sydney Olympic, Perth Glory, and the newly established Adelaide United the exception in a dying league.[4][5][6]

In April 2003, the Australian Federal Government initiated the Independent Soccer Review Committee to investigate the governance and management of the sport in Australia, including that of the NSL.[7] In December 2003, the Crawford Report found that the NSL was financially unviable, and in response the chairman of the sports new governing body, Frank Lowy of Football Federation Australia, announced that a task force would be formed to create a new national competition as a successor to the NSL which dissolved at the conclusion of the 2003–04 season after 27 years of operation.[8]


The A-League was announced in April 2004, as a successor to the NSL.[8] Eight teams would be part of the new national competition, with one team from each city of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle, plus a New Zealand team and one from a remaining expressions of interest from either Melbourne or Sydney. The competition start date was set for August 2005.[9][10]

By June 2004, 20 submissions had been received and a month later 12 consortiums sent in their final bids for the eight spots. Three bids were received from Melbourne, two each from Sydney and Brisbane, one from each of the remaining preferred cities and a bid from the New South Wales Central Coast city of Gosford. Over the next three months, each bid was reviewed and on 1 November 2004, the eight successful bidders and the major sponsor were revealed, for what would be known as the Hyundai A-League, with the Hyundai Motor Company unveiled as the official naming rights sponsor for the league.[10]

The eight founding teams for the league were Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, New Zealand Knights, Perth Glory, Queensland Roar and Sydney FC, with four former NSL clubs taking part, those being Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory, as well as NSL club Brisbane Lions who withdrew their first team from the Queensland State league and entered it in to the competition as Queensland Roar[11] plus New Zealand Knights who were formed from New Zealand Football Kingz. Each club was given a five-year exclusivity deal in its own market as part of the league's "one-city, one-team" policy. This was intended to allow clubs to grow and develop an identity in their respective region without local competition.[12]

Initial seasonsEdit

On 26 August 2005, 16 months after the demise of the NSL, the inaugural season of the A-League began.[10] The first season would see Adelaide United win the premier's plate by seven points over Sydney FC with Central Coast and Newcastle filling the final two spots in the final series.[13] In the final series, it was Sydney that took out the title after they defeated Central Coast by a Steve Corica goal to claim the first title on 5 March 2006.[14] The following season saw Melbourne Victory claim the A-League premiers plate when they smashed Adelaide United 6–0 in the final at the Telstra Dome with Archie Thompson scoring five goals in the rout.[15] But the season wasn't without a change with the New Zealand Knights being replaced by the Wellington Phoenix after the Knights were taken over by New Zealand Football after the team only won six times in forty-two games and selected overseas talent instead of local.[16][17]


Both Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury joined the league in the 2009–10 season. On 12 June 2009, Melbourne Heart was awarded a licence to join the 2010–11 season.[18] On 1 March 2011 North Queensland Fury's A-League licence was revoked for financial reasons.[19] On 29 February 2012, Gold Coast United also had its licence revoked.[20][21] On 4 April 2012 it was announced that a new Western Sydney-based club, Western Sydney Wanderers, would join the league for the 2012–13 season.[22] In January 2014, Melbourne Heart was acquired by the City Football Group and was renamed Melbourne City ahead of the 2014–15 season.[23] In February 2018, officials announced that the league would expand to 12 teams for the 2019–20 season.[24] Later that year, the league announced that Western United FC would join the competition in 2019–20 and Macarthur would enter the following season (2020–21).[25]

In the lead-up to the expansion announcements in 2019, club stakeholders entered into discussions with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to take over ownership of the competition. The league had been created and operated by the FFA since its inception in 2004, though by 2018 the FFA and clubs were at loggerheads over the permanent ownership structure of the league.[26] A FIFA-backed congress review working group issued a sweeping 100-page report in August 2018, recommending an expanded domestic congress and an independent A-League, controlled and operated by the clubs.[27] On 1 July 2019, the FFA and Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (the body representing the A-League clubs) announced an agreement had been reached for the FFA to relinquish control of the league to the clubs by the following month, in time for the start of the 2019–20 season.[28] The agreement brought the sport in line with the governance structure utilised in most European leagues.[28][29]

Competition formatEdit

Regular seasonEdit

The regular season runs mainly during the Australian summer, from early October to April of the following year. The competition consists of 27 rounds, with each team playing every other team three times. The teams allotted two home matches against an opponent in one season are allotted one home match against that opponent in the following season. Each match sees the winning team awarded three competition points, with one point each for a draw. The club at the top of this ladder is crowned A-League Premiers, and since the 2005–06 season has been entered into the AFC Champions League.[30][31] The Premier is presented with a trophy known as the Premier's Plate.[32]

At the completion of the regular season the top six placed teams on the league table progress to the finals series. The position of each team is determined by the highest number of points accumulated during the regular season. If two or more teams are level on points, the following criteria are applied in order until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:[33]

  1. Highest goal difference;
  2. Highest number of goals scored;
  3. Highest number of points accumulated in matches between the teams concerned;
  4. Highest goal difference in matches between the teams concerned;
  5. Highest number of goals scored in matches between the teams concerned;
  6. Lowest number of red cards accumulated;
  7. Lowest number of yellow cards accumulated;
  8. Toss of a coin.[33]

Finals seriesEdit

Melbourne Victory celebrating after their 2007 A-League Grand Final victory.

The top six clubs at the conclusion of the regular season progress to the finals series. The finals series culminates to the A-League grand final, where the winner is crowned A-League champion and receives a place in the AFC Champions League. The club that wins the grand final is presented with the A-League Trophy.

The finals series consists of six teams who are placed by rank, as determined at the end of the regular season. The finals series runs over three weeks, with all games being sudden death, leading to a sudden-death grand final to decide the overall A-League competition. The first and second placed teams at the conclusion of the regular season are rewarded with a bye in the first week of the Finals Series and the advantage of hosting each of their semi-finals in the second week of the finals series.[33]

Of the two grand finalists, the team that finished higher on the ladder at the conclusion of the regular season hosts the grand final. The only exception to this is if the FFA deems that team's home ground to be an inappropriate. For example, in 2008, Central Coast Mariners (as the higher-placed team) hosted the grand final against the Newcastle Jets at Sydney Football Stadium, due to FFA deciding that Central Coast Mariners home stadium, Central Coast Stadium with a capacity of 20,000, was too small for the event.[34]

Grand final host stadium

Stadium Location No. hosted Years hosted
Sydney Football Stadium Sydney 4 2006, 2008, 2013, 2017
Docklands Stadium Melbourne 3 2007, 2009, 2010
Lang Park Brisbane 3 2011, 2012, 2014
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium Melbourne 1 2015
Adelaide Oval Adelaide 1 2016
Hunter Stadium Newcastle 1 2018
Perth Stadium Perth 1 2019
Western Sydney Stadium Sydney 1 2020

Continental qualificationEdit

In 2004–05 Australia was still a part of the Oceania Football Confederation and Sydney FC won the right to compete in the Oceania Club Championship after defeating the Central Coast Mariners in a qualifying tournament.

A-League clubs are eligible for participation in the AFC Champions League competition each season since the 2007 edition of the tournament.[35] Wellington Phoenix are not eligible to compete in the Asian Champions League, nor do they compete in the OFC Champions League. The only Australian side to win the Asian Champions League are the Western Sydney Wanderers FC.

Qualification is determined by league finishing positions and who wins the A-League Grand Final, and the number of positions determined by the Asian Football Confederation club competition ranking. The ACL is split into West & East Asian halves until the Grand Final, and Australia has generally been 4th placed in East Asia and received two direct entry positions and one qualification play-off berth. It is unlikely the A-League will receive more than 3 positions until the competition expands beyond 10 teams.[36][37][38][39][40]

Other competitionsEdit

Since 2014 clubs also compete in the annual FFA Cup knock-out tournament.[41] From 2020, the top nine teams qualify for the 2020 FFA Cup – entering at the Round of 32 – while the bottom two teams will play-off for a spot in the Round of 32.[42]

Between 2005 and 2008 clubs participated in the A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup prior to each A-League regular season. In 2013 and 2014 an A-League All Stars Game was also played as a pre-season friendly game between the league's finest players and a high-profile international team.[43][44]

Most A-League clubs have teams in the National Youth League (Y-League), which runs in conjunction with the A-League as a national youth developmental and reserve league. All players in the youth teams are between the ages of 16 and 21 as of the start of the calendar year for each new season, while four over-age players from each of the senior teams also allowed to be selected. In addition, the W-League operates as the top division of women's league with affiliations to the men's competition.[45]


The A-League is currently contested by 12 teams: eleven from Australia and one from New Zealand. A total of 15 teams have competed at some stage in the league's short history. Only four of these clubs – Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar (as Queensland Lions), Newcastle Jets, and Perth Glory – existed before the A-League was formed. Gold Coast United, New Zealand Knights, and North Queensland Fury have formerly competed in the league.

Unlike most leagues from across the world, there is no system for promotion and relegation of teams. The A-League system thus shares some franchising elements with most other professional leagues in Australia, Major League Soccer, and other major North American-based sports leagues.

Current clubs
Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joined Head coach Captain
Adelaide United Adelaide, South Australia Coopers Stadium 16,500 2003 2005   Carl Veart   Michael Jakobsen
Brisbane Roar Brisbane, Queensland Suncorp Stadium
Dolphin Stadium
1957 2005   Warren Moon   Tom Aldred
Central Coast Mariners Gosford, New South Wales Central Coast Stadium 20,059 2004 2005   Alen Stajcic   Matt Simon
Macarthur FC Macarthur, Sydney, New South Wales Campbelltown Stadium 20,000 2017 2020   Ante Milicic   Mark Milligan
Melbourne City Melbourne, Victoria AAMI Park 30,050 2009 2010   Patrick Kisnorbo   Scott Jamieson
Melbourne Victory Melbourne, Victoria AAMI Park
Marvel Stadium
2004 2005   Grant Brebner   Leigh Broxham
Newcastle Jets Newcastle, New South Wales McDonald Jones Stadium 33,000 2000 2005 Vacant   Nigel Boogaard
Perth Glory Perth, Western Australia HBF Park 20,500 1995 2005   Richard Garcia   Diego Castro
Sydney FC Sydney, New South Wales Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Leichhardt Oval
2004 2005   Steve Corica   Alex Wilkinson
Wellington Phoenix Wellington, New Zealand Sky Stadium
Eden Park
2007 2007   Ufuk Talay TBA
Western Sydney Wanderers Sydney, New South Wales Bankwest Stadium 30,000 2012 2012   Carl Robinson TBA
Western United Wyndham, Melbourne, Victoria GMHBA Stadium
Mars Stadium
VU Whitten Oval
2017 2019   Mark Rudan   Alessandro Diamanti

Defunct teams
Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joined Dissolved
Gold Coast United Gold Coast, Queensland Skilled Park 27,400 2008 2009 2012
New Zealand Knights Auckland, New Zealand North Harbour Stadium 25,000 1998 2005 2007
North Queensland Fury Townsville, Queensland Dairy Farmers Stadium 26,500 2008 2009 2011


League member Former member Future member


While making a relatively modest start to ensure future stability, both the FFA and the soccer media indicated significant interest in expanding the league. The eight foundation clubs had exclusivity clauses for their respective cities valid for five years, but this did not exclude teams from other areas joining the league.

Before the introduction of the A-League, FFA chairman Frank Lowy speculated that he hoped to expand the league into other cities, mentioning Canberra, Hobart, Wollongong, Geelong, Bendigo, Cairns, Ballarat, Albury–Wodonga, Launceston, Christchurch, Auckland, Sunshine Coast and possibly Darwin and later Singapore.[46][47][48][49]

In February 2018, officials announced that the league would expand to 12 teams for the 2019–20 season.[24][50][51] In December 2018, the FFA announced they accepted the bids of Western United who joined the league in the 2019–20 season and of Macarthur, who joined the league in the 2020–21 season.[52]


There are several key rivalries and local derbies that have formed in the A-League, including:

"Melbourne Derby"Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory v Western United
The two Melbourne clubs first met on 8 October 2010 in a lively game at AAMI Park in front of 25,897 fans. Melbourne City (known at the time as Melbourne Heart) came out on top with a 2–1 victory.[53] A significant narrative in derby history is the role of Melbourne Victory as a more successful club both on and off the field, having joined the A-League five years earlier than City. The rivalry is one of the most intense and well respected in the A-League, producing noticeable atmosphere and some of the largest attendances in the league.[54]

"The Original Rivalry"Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
The rivalry stems from the traditional cross-border rivalry between sporting teams from South Australia and Victoria but was strengthened by multiple incidents in the 2006–07 season, such as the confrontation between Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat and then Adelaide United coach John Kosmina.[citation needed] The two clubs contested the 2007 and 2009 A-League Grand Finals, with Melbourne winning the 2009 Grand Final 1–0 very controversially against a 10-man Adelaide United. The match will always be marred by the 10th minute sending off of Adelaide United striker Cristiano, which ultimately contributed to the loss. The two clubs were also involved in the first and only occasion in the A-League during the 2008–09 A-League season, where they both finished on the top of the ladder equal on both points and goal difference. The rivalry between both sets of fans remains very strong.[citation needed]

"Sydney Derby"Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers v Macarthur FC
The derby was contested for the first time in the 2012–13 season with the introduction of the second Sydney-based club, Western Sydney Wanderers, into the league. Sydney FC grabbed bragging rights by winning the first derby 1–0 at Parramatta Stadium,[55] however Western Sydney Wanderers won the return match at Allianz Stadium 2–0. A Sydney Derby held early in the 2015 season broke the Allianz Stadium record for attendance during a regular season in any football code, dating back to the stadium's opening in 1988.[56] A match in 2016 between the two teams broke the record A-League crowd with 61,880 fans attending the match at ANZ Stadium.[57] Sydney Derby is intensified by the geographic distinction between the two clubs within Sydney, as well as historical grievances related to the foundation of Sydney FC.

"The Big Blue"Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
This match is so named because blue is the main colour of both teams' playing kits, and is also Australian slang for a fight or a contest.[58] The rivalry has emerged as a result of a number of spiteful encounters between the teams in recent years, and due to the longstanding rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. The teams have competed against each other in three grand finals; in 2010 & 2017, with Sydney winning 4–2 on penalties after a 1–1 draw on both occasions and in 2015, with Victory winning 3–0.[59] In 2010, Sydney FC won the A-League Premiership on the final day of the season by defeating Victory 2–0. A Big Blue match is traditionally played on Australia Day each year.

"The F3 Derby"Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets
Named after the former name of the freeway that connects the cities of Newcastle and Gosford,[60] this match features the only two clubs in the A-League that are not based in state capital cities. The two teams' stadiums are just one hour apart, and the derby was intensified when they competed against each other for the premiership in the 2007–08 A-League season and eventually met in the Grand Final, which was won 1–0 by the Jets.

"The Distance Derby"Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
Originally conceived as a joke, based upon the two teams being considered as having the longest road trips in the world for a domestic league (5,255 km/3,270 mi). This is considered to be the longest distance regular top-flight domestic league fixtures in professional soccer. This distinction was previously held by Zenit St Petersburg and Luch Vladivostok in the Russian Premier League, before the latters' relegation in 2008. The distance between Perth and Auckland, home of the Phoenix's predecessors, the New Zealand Knights, is slightly longer than Perth-Wellington. The two teams have had two tense finals games in the A-League, most recently with Perth Glory winning a finals match in 2011–12 in extra time. The rivalry was formally resurrected in the 2015–16 A-League season by means of awarding a new trophy called the Long Distance Derby Cup, based on the cumulative results from the 3 league games for the season.[61] Perth Glory won this cup in its inaugural year.


Logo and trophiesEdit

The original Hyundai A-League logo (in use from 2004 to 2017)
The A-League Trophy was designed to resemble a laurel wreath.
The Premier's Plate is awarded to the highest finishing team in the regular season.

The current A-League logo was unveiled in January 2017 by Football Federation Australia. The logo formed part of a wider rebranding branding of the A-League and its subsidiary competitions, the W-League and Youth League. The logo design was "inspired by football's three outstanding features – atmosphere, diversity and unity" and has colour alterations tailored to each of the 10 A-League clubs. The changes came into effect before the 2017/18 season.[62] The original A-League logo was designed by Coast Design Sydney. It was the inaugural logo of the league. The two-toned ochre colours represented the sun, earth and desert while the 'glow' emanating from the centre of the logo depicted the playing season's spring and summer time span. The eight 'A' figures that made up the ball shape represented the eight foundation clubs of the league.[63]

The A-League has two trophies which are competed for during the season: the Premier's Plate and the A-League Trophy.[64] The Premier's Plate is awarded to the A-League Premiers, the regular season winners, and the A-League Trophy is awarded to the A-League Champions, the winner of the Grand Final. Both pieces of silverware were designed by Sydney design company D3 Design. The A-League Trophy is nicknamed the "Toilet Seat" due to its shape.[65][66][67] Where as the Premier's Plate follows a traditional trophy design, the A-League Trophy differs. In 2005, John O'Neill, FFA CEO commented during the unveiling of the A-League Trophy, "We have a new national league and we feel it is important to re-define the conventional view of a trophy to reflect this". Clive Solari of D3 Design explained the trophy's design, saying "We wanted our trophy concept to embody the historical significance of sport in a contemporary design. So we looked to history to see how great achievements have been rewarded across all types of games for thousands of years. The winners of the world's original sporting competition, the Olympic Games, were presented with a laurel wreath on their heads. We used this model as a basis for a unique, cutting-edge design – our trophy is a modern and versatile translation of the wreath. The winners can hold it above their heads as a symbol of success".[68]

Squad formation and salary capEdit

Alessandro Del Piero joined the league in 2012, as Sydney FC's marquee player.

The A-League match-day squad includes the typical 11 players, and five substitutes of which one must be a goalkeeper. Prior to the 2013–14 season, just four substitutes including one goalkeeper were allowed to be named in the starting line-ups for the teams.[69]

An A-League squad must comprise a minimum of 20 players with a maximum of 26, subject to several limitations. Within the squad there can be a maximum of five "foreign" or "Visa" players, from outside Australia (and New Zealand, in the case of Wellington Phoenix), that hold a temporary working-visa. Three players in the squad must also be under 20 years of age. In addition to these three under 20 players, clubs are allowed to sign an additional three youth players onto full-time contracts at a lower pay rate than the rest of the squad.[70][71][72] The A-League had initially proposed that the quota of five visa players per A-League club be reduced to four in the 2015–16 season, with the limit of four possibly become "3+1", which means three imports from anywhere and one from Asia (following regulations in the AFC Champions League).[73] However, after opposition to the proposal by both players and managers, the move was placed on hold.[74]

Although A-League clubs have restricted salaries (salary cap), the league allows each club to have two "marquee" players whose salaries are exempt from the cap, plus a number of other 'exemptions' or 'allowances' to incentivise clubs to spend in specific areas. Guest players are also excluded for up to a maximum of 14 league matches.[75] From the formation of the league, clubs have been allowed to sign one international marquee player. From the 2008–09 season, A-League clubs have been permitted a junior marquee player; one that is under the age of 23. Now known as the 'Homegrown Player allowance', clubs can spend up to a collective $150,000 on three Australian players aged 23 or younger that have come through the club's youth system.[76] On 19 April 2010, the A-League announced that, in addition to the international marquee and junior marquee, clubs would be allowed an Australian marquee player from the 2010–11 season.[77] Notable marquee and guest players in the A-League have included Alessandro Del Piero, William Gallas, Dwight Yorke, Emile Heskey, Robbie Fowler, Shinji Ono, David Villa and former FIFA World Player of the Year Romário. Famous Australian Marquees include Harry Kewell, John Aloisi, Brett Emerton, Joshua Kennedy and Tim Cahill.

Commencing in the 2015–16 season, players who have played at their club for 5–10 years will be covered by a "loyalty player allowance", allowing up to $200,000 of their salary to be exempted from the cap. Additionally, clubs are now permitted a mature-age rookie whose wages are outside the salary cap.[75]

The 2016–17 season saw the introduction of a third 'Full Season Guest Marquee' spot, designed to attract high-profile players on short-term deals.[78]

The A-League salary cap is $3.2 million for the 2019–20 season. Clubs must spend at least the salary floor which is $2.88 million (representing 90% of the salary cap). The salary cap applies to the 20 to 23 players that clubs have registered to their A-League player roster, the top 2 highest paid players (Designated Players) don't count in the cap. Unless specifically exempt, all payments and benefits (e.g. cars, accommodation, etc.) provided by a club to a player are included in the club's salary cap.[76][79] In the case for Western United, they are entitled to a $400 thousand allowance thus increasing their salary cap to $3.6 million for their first season. The Mature Age rookie exemption was removed for this season and the Loyalty Player rules were changed to players registered at a club for more than 4 consecutive years as a professional; Year 4 – 12.5%, Year 5 – 25% and 5% increments after that up until a max of 50% of salary will not count towards the cap. Teams can spend an unlimited amount on 4 U-23 Australian players who have come from the youth team, called Homegrown Players. Teams can sign up to 9 U-20 players on minimum wage called Scholarship Players who don't count in the squad unless they are one of the 3 U21's in the squad.[80]

A-League salaries and marquees
Season Marquee player Australian marquee Junior marquee Mature-aged rookie Salary cap Minimum salary
2005–06 1 No No No $1,500,000[81]
2006–07 1 No No No $1,600,000[82]
2007–08 1 No No No $1,800,000[82]
2008–09 1 No 1 No $1,900,000[83]
2009–10 1 No 1 No $2,250,000[84]
2010–11 1 1 1 No $2,350,000[81]
2011–12 1 1 1 No $2,400,000[85]
2012–13 1 1 1 No $2,468,000[86] $48,000[87]
2013–14 1 1 1 No $2,500,000[86] $50,000[86]
2014–15 1 1 1 No $2,550,000[86] $51,000[88]
2015–16 2 1 1 $2,600,000[76] $55,000[76]
2016–17 3 1 1 $2,650,000[89] $55,715[89]
2017–18 2 1 1 $2,928,000[89] $61,287[89]
2018–19 2 1 1 $3,063,000[90] $64,113[89]
2019–20 2 1 No $3,200,000[90] U/20: $47,792
20+: $64,113[91]


A-League games have been played in 33 stadiums since the inaugural season of the A-League in 2005. Hindmarsh Stadium, the home of Adelaide United, is currently the smallest used in the A-League, with a capacity of 16,500. Docklands Stadium, one of the homes of Melbourne Victory, has the greatest seating capacity (56,347) of any stadium currently used by an A-League club.


Since its formation up until 2020, the A-League has been sponsored by an official naming rights partner.[10] In 2004, the Hyundai Motor Company was announced as the sponsor for the first three seasons of the league, known for commercial purposes as the "Hyundai A-League". In 2008, Hyundai renewed its initial contract with FFA for another four seasons until 2012, and that contract was further extended by four seasons until 2016.[92] This sponsorship deal was then further extended to the end of the 2019–20 A-League season.[93]

League championshipsEdit

As of the end of the 2019–20 regular season, 14 different clubs have competed in the league, with six having won the trophy, and seven winning at least one premier's plate.

Team Champions Year(s) won Premiers Year(s) won Total combined A-League seasons
Sydney FC 5 2006, 2010, 2017, 2019, 2020 4 2009–10, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2019–20 9 15
Melbourne Victory 4 2007, 2009, 2015, 2018 3 2006–07, 2008–09, 2014–15 7 15
Brisbane Roar 3 2011, 2012, 2014 2 2010–11, 2013–14 5 15
Central Coast Mariners 1 2013 2 2007–08, 2011–12 3 15
Adelaide United 1 2016 2 2005–06, 2015–16 3 15
Newcastle Jets 1 2008 1 15
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 2012–13 1 8
Perth Glory 1 2018–19 1 15


Besart Berisha is the leading A-League goalscorer, scoring his 100th A-League goal in April 2017.

Brisbane Roar hold the record for the longest unbeaten run in the competition with 36 league matches without defeat.[94]

Besart Berisha holds the record for the greatest number of A-League goals, with 116 goals, playing for Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and currently Western United.[95] The A-League record for most goals in a single match is held by Archie Thompson, scoring 5 goals against Adelaide United on 18 February 2007, during the 2007 A-League Grand Final.

Besart Berisha and Jamie Maclaren have scored the most A-League hat-tricks with 5.

Shane Smeltz and Bobô are the only players to have scored hat-tricks in consecutive matches.[96][97]

Henrique was the first, and so far only, player to score a hat-trick coming on as a substitute, for Brisbane Roar against Newcastle Jets.[98]

In 2015, Austrian striker Marc Janko broke the record for scoring in consecutive matches when he scored in seven games for Sydney FC.[99]

Media coverageEdit

From the start of the 2005–06 season to the 2012–13 season, television coverage of the A-League in Australia had been restricted to the subscription-only Fox Sports channel, to which only 7% of Australian residents have access.[100] On 19 November 2012, free-to-air Australian public broadcasting television network SBS secured the shared rights, alongside long-time A-League broadcasters Fox Sports, to the A-League from the 2013–14 season with a A$160 million four-year broadcast deal.[101] SBS's coverage ended in the 2016–17 season, with Network Ten securing free to air broadcast rights. Ten simulcasted the Fox Sports coverage of the Saturday night fixture on its digital multichannel Ten Boss.[102] Since the 2019–20 season, ABC TV has broadcast one game a weekend (Saturday 5pm) live on its primary channel.[103] It also has the right to broadcast delayed coverage of some finals matches and the Grand Final.[103] Fox Sport's current contract with the A-League, which was renegotiated in June 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, concludes in July 2021.[104]

In New Zealand the league has been broadcast on Sky Sport since its inaugural season. In the 2019–20 season, the league also broadcast on Qatari beIN Sports after Sky ink four-year partnership for extensive soccer coverage, especially the A-league.[105]

The growth of coverage of the A-League outside Australia saw the league broadcast in 65 countries around the world in 2013/14.[106] Full match broadcasts are available in the United States, China, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar.[106] In addition to the full match broadcasts, highlights of A-League matches can be viewed in 53 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East, including Japan and South Korea.[106] In 2014, a three-season deal with Sony TEN allowed the league to be broadcast live in Asian nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[107] Every A-League match is also live streamed globally, allowing games to be viewed online through a subscription service provided in a partnership with the FFA.[108] All games also broadcast live in the United States on ESPN+. Most games in the United Kingdom are broadcast by BT Sport but use Fox Sports' live feed for every live game. For the 2014–15 Season, the A-League was broadcast in 173 countries.[109]

The A-League has been promoted using a number of different advertising slogans and strategies since its inception. At the start of the inaugural season, a A$3 million dollar advertising campaign was launched, with the television and film advertisements produced by Ridley Scott's production company Scott Free Productions. The theme for the campaign was: "Football, but not as you know it". A new television advertisement was created for the start of the 2007–08 season, which debuted on Foxtel's program Total Football. It was filmed at Bob Jane Stadium in Melbourne. Other campaigns include the "90 minutes, 90 emotions", which was used for two seasons from 2007 to 2009 and was accompanied by the music track "My People" from Australian act The Presets.[110]

Current broadcastersEdit


Territory Network
Australia Fox Sports[113]
ABC TV[103]
Pacific Islands Sky Sport[114]
New Zealand
beIN Sports
Hong Kong
Southeast Asia
International Sport24 (in-flight and ship only)
YouTube (unsold markets only)
Albania & Kosovo Tring Sport
Balkans Arena Sport
Belgium Eleven Sports
Canada DAZN
Central Asia Setanta Sports Eurasia
China China Sports Media
Cyprus CytaVision
France Eurosport
Georgia Adjarasport
Ireland BT Sport
United Kingdom
Israel Sport 5
Italy Sportitalia[115]
Japan Australia TV
South Korea
Macau Macau Cable
Mexico & Central America Televisa Deportes Network
Middle East & North Africa Abu Dhabi Sports[116]
Mongolia Fox Sports Asia
Myanmar Sky Net
Netherlands Ziggo Sport
Portugal Sport TV
Russia & Belarus Match TV
Scandinavia Viasat Sport
Slovenia Šport TV
South Asia NEO Sports
Spain Movistar Fútbol
Sub-Saharan Africa SuperSport Canal+ Sport
United States ESPN+
Vietnam SCTV

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "FFA lose $6 million deal with major A-League sponsor Hyundai". The World Game. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  2. ^ Hay, Roy; Murray, Bill, eds. (2006). The World Game Downunder. Melbourne: Australian Society for Sports History. p. 120. ISBN 0975761668.
  3. ^ "A brief history of the NSL: Part IV". The Roar. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2013.[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ "Origins". Sydney Olympic Football Club. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  5. ^ Howe, Andrew (21 February 2013). "History against the Wanderers". footballaustralia.com.au. Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Wanderers help lay some ex-NSL ghosts to rest". The Roar. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.[unreliable source?]
  7. ^ Baum, Greg (18 November 2009). "Crawford wants sport to be for all, not just the privileged". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b Hill, Simon (8 April 2014). "Simon Says: 10 years on from last NSL game, the past and present are starting to share the future". Fox Sports. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  9. ^ Lynch, Michael (23 March 2004). "Hundreds of jobs on hold in league revamp". The Age. Retrieved 5 September 2014. If the 'eighth best' application comes from Sydney or Melbourne, either of those cities would have two teams.
  10. ^ a b c d "Our History". Hyundai A-League. Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  11. ^ "About Us – Lions FC". Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Was one-team one-city a mistake by the FFA?". The Roar. Retrieved 8 January 2013.[unreliable source?]
  13. ^ Fox, Marc (30 January 2006). "Final four confirmed". Archived from the original on 4 September 2006.
  14. ^ Lucas, Adam (5 March 2006). "Sydney FC prevails". Archived from the original on 3 September 2006.
  15. ^ Paine, Chris (10 February 2007). "Thompson haul guides Victory to A-League crown". ABC. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  16. ^ "New franchise keeps NZ in A-League". Herald Sun. 20 March 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  17. ^ Gilhooy, Daniel (14 December 2006). "Soccer: NZ Soccer willing to rescue 'embarrassing' Knights". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ Reed, Ron (13 June 2009). "Melbourne awarded licence for second A-League team". Fox Sports. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
  19. ^ "HAL Hath No Fury". Australian FourFourTwo. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  20. ^ Gatt, Ray (29 February 2012). "Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer loses A-League licence". The Australian. News Limited.
  21. ^ "Glimmer of hope for Gold Coast's future". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. 4 March 2012. Archived from the original on 16 April 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  22. ^ "New Hyundai A-League club for Western Sydney". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  23. ^ "Manchester City buy A-League's Melbourne Heart". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  24. ^ a b "FFA announce A-League expansion to 12 teams but clubs are wary of 'smokescreen'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 February 2018.
  25. ^ "A-League approves Western Melbourne, Macarthur South-West Sydney expansion bids". ABC News. 21 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Football's 'heart and soul' deserting the game amid governance gridlock". The World Game. SBS. 3 August 2018.
  27. ^ "A-League could go independent by 2019". The World Game. SBS. 7 August 2018.
  28. ^ a b Vince Rugari (1 July 2019). "FFA to relinquish control of A-League after independence deal reached". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  29. ^ "New Leagues Working Group (NLWG) update". Football Federation Australia. 30 June 2019.
  30. ^ "Grand Final rematch to open HAL season". A-League.com.au. Football Federation Australia. 1 May 2006. Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  31. ^ "2012–2013 A-League season: full fixture list and new finals series". Fox Sports. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  32. ^ "A-League: HAL 7 (2011–2012 Season)". back-of-the-net.com. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  33. ^ a b c "Competition Rules". A-League. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  34. ^ "SFS to host A-League grand final". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 February 2008. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  35. ^ "Australia received two spots in AFC Champions League". 18 July 2006. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  36. ^ "AFC cuts Champions League slots". Football Federation Australia. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  37. ^ "A-League misses out on automatic ACL spot". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Australian Associated Press. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  38. ^ Micallef, Philip (3 December 2012). "AFC ruling clouds A-League finals". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  39. ^ "A-League misses out on automatic ACL spot". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  40. ^ "A-League wins extra Asia spot". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  41. ^ "FFA Cup How Draw Works". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016.
  42. ^ Bossi, Vince Rugari, Dominic (19 December 2019). "A-League's worst teams to play off for spot in FFA Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  43. ^ "Stage set for Manchester United to play A-League all-stars". The Australian. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  44. ^ "Italian giants Juventus coming to Sydney". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  45. ^ "Women in a league of their own". Football Federation Australia. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  46. ^ "ASA announce several significant initiatives". Australian Soccer Association. 22 March 2004. Archived from the original on 9 September 2006.
  47. ^ "A-League launch speech by FFA chairman Mr Frank Lowy AC". Australian Soccer Association. 13 November 2004. Archived from the original on 12 September 2006.
  48. ^ Osbourne, Paul (10 August 2006). "Chief talks up Townsville". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
  49. ^ Ormond, Aidan (4 January 2010). "Gippsland's A-League Call". Australian FourFourTwo. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  50. ^ Davutovic, David (5 December 2016). "A-League expansion plans revealed with two new teams to join in 2018–19". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  51. ^ A-League expansion further delayed as FFA focus on operating model(in English)
  52. ^ Hytner, Mike (13 December 2018). "FFA settle on staggered A-League expansion over next two years". The Guardian.
  53. ^ "Heart Claim Inaugural Derby Win". Melbourne Heart. 8 October 2010. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011.
  54. ^ "Melbourne Derby: Does Victory v. City trump Sydney derby as A-League's biggest rivalry?". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  55. ^ "Del Piero does it again". A-League. 20 October 2012. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013.
  56. ^ "FLOURISHING A-LEAGUE SMASHES MORE RECORDS". The World Game. SBS. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  57. ^ Ormond, Aidan (8 October 2016). "Sydney FC's epic second half blows away Wanderers". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  58. ^ "Blue". The Macquarie Essential Dictionary. The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. 1999. p. 81.
  59. ^ Greco, John (17 May 2015). "Victory outclass Sydney FC in Grand Final". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  60. ^ "Fans steamed up for derby – if they get there". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 12 November 2006.
  61. ^ "Glory and Phoenix battle for Long Distance Derby Cup". Perth Glory FC. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  62. ^ "FFA reveal new branding and A-League logo". SBS Australia. 24 January 2017.
  63. ^ "Logo signals refreshing new era". A-League.com.au. Football Federation Australia. 1 November 2004. Archived from the original on 12 September 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  64. ^ Ormond, Aidan (19 March 2007). "Gold medal trophy". Australian FourFourTwo. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  65. ^ Hill, Simon (2 January 2013). "Goal-line technology,'toilet seats' and MRPs: Simon Hill reveals his hopes and dreams for football". Fox Sports. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  66. ^ "The top 10 A-League flops". The World Game. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015. Then there's the A-League prize – a shiny metal ring that looks like something you stick your rear end in to eject fecal waste through. Aptly nicknamed the 'toilet seat', the A-League trophy is actually an impressive piece of kit close up, but in the lexicon of famous football championship bling, it's a definite flop.
  67. ^ "EPL trophy influenced FFA Cup design". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  68. ^ "New A-League trophy revealed". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  69. ^ Orr, Michael. "A-League increases available substitutes to five". SBnation.com. Vox Media. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ "Open slather as clubs push for squad quotas to be scrapped". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  71. ^ "A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement 2008–2013". Australian PFA. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  72. ^ "A-League salary cap to rise". The Daily Telegraph. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  73. ^ Moore, Craig (15 March 2014). "Reducing the A-League imports to four will only help the development of our young Australian players". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  74. ^ Davutovic, David (24 January 2015). "A-League chiefs are set to backflip and not reduce visa spots for next season". Fox Sports. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  75. ^ a b "Sweeping changes to A-League cap unveiled". Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  76. ^ a b c d "A-League Salary Cap Summary". Football Federation Australia.
  77. ^ "A-League CBA". Australian PFA. 2 May 2010. Archived from the original on 19 April 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  78. ^ "FFA finalise third "guest" marquee". Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  79. ^ "FFA and PFA announce extension of Collective Bargaining Agreements for Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League". Hyundai A-League. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  80. ^ "Salary Cap System". Hyundai A-League. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  81. ^ a b "Can our talent reside in the A-League?". theroar.com.au.
  82. ^ a b "A-League lifts its salary cap to $1.8m". The Age.
  83. ^ "New Season To Start with a Bang". Australian FourFourTwo. Archived from the original on 3 May 2008.
  84. ^ "Football federation ignored Sydney FC's alleged breach of salary cap". Sydney Morning Herald.
  85. ^ "FFA, players on collision course". The Australian. News Limited.
  86. ^ a b c d "A-League players strike a deal for a minor increase to salary cap, minimum wages". Adelaide Now.
  87. ^ "A-League clubs to see slight salary cap raise under new pay deal". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  88. ^ "Foreign marquee quota doubled in revised salary cap". SBS website. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  89. ^ a b c d e "A-League salary cap could be scrapped when new CBA is negotiated in 2018". Fox Sports (Australia).
  90. ^ a b "New A-League expansion teams to be given bigger salary cap". Sydney Morning Herald.
  91. ^ "Salary Cap System". Hyundai A-League. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  92. ^ "Hyundai Extends A-League Partnership Until 2016" (Press release). Hyundai Motor Company, Australia. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  93. ^ "Hyundai extends partnership with FFA through to 2020". MyFootball. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  94. ^ "Roar record to stand for a while". www.couriermail.com.au. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  95. ^ "Statistics: Goals (Overall)". ultimatealeague.com. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  96. ^ Quartermaine, Braden (1 April 2012). "Hat-trick to Shane Smeltz sees Perth Glory knock out Melbourne Heart". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  97. ^ Baumbach, Julian (30 December 2017). "Sydney FC Smash Perth For Six To End 2017". Sydney FC.
  98. ^ "Henrique hat-trick leads Brisbane Roar to first win of A-League season over Newcastle Jets". ABC. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  99. ^ Gatt, Ray (15 March 2015). "Marc Janko races past Del Piero's Sydney FC goal-scoring record". The Australian. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  100. ^ "FOXTEL Announces Solid Growth Despite Difficult Consumer Environment" (Press release). Foxtel. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  101. ^ "Football returns to free-to-air TV on SB". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 6 March 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  102. ^ "New TV deal for Football". Hyundai A-League. Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  103. ^ a b c "ABC TV becomes Free-to-Air Broadcast Partner of the Hyundai A-League". A-League. 3 October 2019.
  104. ^ "Foxtel and FFA come to an agreement over A-League and W-League". mumbrella. 22 June 2020.
  105. ^ "Champions League and La Liga headline Sky NZ's co-branded BeIN channel – SportsPro Media". www.sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  106. ^ a b c "Hyundai A-League broadcast to global audience in 2013/14". footballaustralia.com.au. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  107. ^ "A-League and FFA Cup's Asia TV deal". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  108. ^ "Watch A-League's Top Football LIVE!". aleague.livesport.tv. Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  109. ^ "Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Season Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  110. ^ "New A-League ad hits the screens". Australian FourFourTwo. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  111. ^ https://www.a-league.com.au/our-international-broadcasters
  112. ^ https://www.a-league.com.au/freetoairfixtures
  113. ^ "FFA announces new A-League broadcast deal". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  114. ^ "Cash block to Phoenix A-League licence extension". Stuff NZ. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  116. ^ أبوظبي الرياضيّة‎ (13 December 2019). "من لمسة واحدة وبين قدمي حارس المرمى...شاهد الهدف. #الدوري_الاسترالي". Twitter (in Arabic). Retrieved 23 January 2020.

External linksEdit