Publish Date: 24/11/2021
Fact checked by: Megan Jonson
The 2021/22 A-League season kicked off at the weekend, with all 12 teams in action.
However, there are players and coaches who echo the view of fans that the current setup of the league isn’t fair.
The league expanded from ten to 12 teams for the 2019/20 season, with a 26 game season.
This means that not all teams play each other an even amount of times, which has sparked calls for a possible expansion to a 14 or 16 team league.
One person from within the A-League to go public with his opinion on the current setup is Adelaide United coach Carl Veart.
Veart, who is a former English Premier League striker, has claimed that the current A-League format is unfair due to the fact that teams don’t all play each other the same amount of times.
As things currently stand, the 12 teams each play a total of 26 times, which is the minimum amount of season games that clubs are required to play as per Asian Football Confederation rules. Teams therefore all play each other twice a season, before playing another four teams a third time.
Making the competition fairer in terms of even meetings between teams would either require an expansion of the number of clubs in the league or an increase to the number of games played in an A-League season - or potentially both.
The most popular idea that has been suggested by critics to the current structure, is the expansion to a 14 or 16 team league.
Increased the number of A-League teams to 14 would be the most logical option if the 26 game season is to remain in place. Adding a further two teams to the league would mean that each team plays each other twice a season.
The suggested 16 team expansion model would require upping the season from 26 to 30 games.
If multiple reports are to be believed, clubs, players and fans are mostly in favour of playing more games per season.
Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, who is currently managing Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, recent spoke about the current A-League setup, suggesting that the season is too short and the break is too long.
APL managing director Danny Townsend, has admitted that the current A-League format “might not be ideal” and has publicly stated that new teams could be added to the league as early as next season.
The teams that could aid the expansion could come from within Australia as well as in New Zealand.
Canberra has a women’s A-League side and so setting up a men’s A-League team appears to be an inevitability in the capital.
Wellington Pheonix is currently the only New Zealand side in the A-League, but there has been talk of an Auckland-based team joining should the competition expand.
Tasmania is the only Australian state that as yet doesn’t have an A-League team, and there have reportedly been interested parties willing to invest in setting one up.
Second teams in Australia’s most populous states, such as New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland could also be an option.