australian league football
The A-League is the highest-level professional men’s soccer league in Australia and New Zealand. 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.
Seasons run from October to May and include a 26-round regular season followed by a Finals Series playoff involving the six 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 the “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 Melbourne City FC, who finished first in the 2020–21 A-League. The current champions are Sydney FC, who won the 2020 A-League Grand Final, a record fifth championship