The A-League is founded in 2004 and held since the 2005/06 season, it is the highest league in Australian football. The League consist of clubs from nine Australian and one New Zealand city. Current sponsor is Hyundai, so League is also referred to as Hyundai A-League.
Even before the founding of the A-League it was a professional league named The National Soccer League. It was founded in 1977 as the first Australian professional league, before there were only regional amateur leagues. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, some clubs ran into financial difficulties and they tried to solve them through profitable player sales to Europe. The bad organization of the League turned out to be a death sentence for the NSL, so the League almost completely disappeared from Australian screens. In October 2003, the plans for a successor format began. Compared to the NSL, the number of first division has been reduced from last 13 to 8 teams, and the start of the league was set to August 2005. By July 2004, 12 concrete applications had been received for these places, including three from Melbourne, although only one league seat was awarded per city. In November of the same year, the eight successful candidates were announced, including five clubs from the NSL. The clubs came from the following cities: Sydney , Perth , Brisbane , Melbourne , Adelaide , Newcastle , Gosford and Auckland (New Zealand). The eight founding clubs received 5-year exclusive contracts for their cities, but the New Zealand team was replaced in 2007. Simultaneously with the licensing of the participants, the sponsorship agreement with Hyundai and TV contracts with Foxsports were also concluded.
Development of the League
To promote the league, a $ 3,000,000 marketing package was adopted after the launch , and the slogan was "Football, but not as you know" because in Australia Football is mainly called Australian Football , the common name for soccer is (Soccer). The campaign was mainly focused on related sports channels. Attractive and famous players quickly established the new format. Some well known footballers returned, such as Archie Thompson or Steve Corica, and some internationally renowned players were committed, like Dwight Yorke. The audience of more than 1 million in the premiere season exceeded expectations. The good performance of the national team at the 2006 World Cup kicked off a boom in Australia, where football was previously marginalized and remained largely unknown in comparison to Australian football and rugby. The successful start of the league and the desire for their consolidation gave the advocates of expansion tailwind.
The "Regular Season" takes place in the Australian Spring and Summer, from August to February. There will be 27 matchdays, with each team H2H three times, depending on the constellation, twice at home and once away, or vice versa, but compensated by reversing this ratio again in the next season - in two seasons three home games and three away games against each opponent. As in Europe, the three-point rule applies . The leaders at the end of the season will be allowed to participate in the AFC Champions League next year.
The six best-placed teams reach the play-offs, called "Final Series". These will be system unusual for football and little known in Europe. In the Elimination Finals, the third placed team plays against the sixth and the fourth placed team plays against the fifth, with the third and fourth placed teams respectively enjoying home rights. The winners of these games qualify for the semi-finals. In these, the champion competes against the winners of the elimination finals, who are placed lower in the regular season finals, and the runner-up competes against the better-placed winners of the elimination finals in the regular season's final table. The champion and runner-up have home-rights in the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals play in the Grand Final. Here again the better placed semi-finalist has the right of home. The winner of the finals is A-League champion.
Participants of the A-League
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