W-League (Australia)

The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia, run by Football Federation Australia (FFA). The W-League was established in 2008 and was composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an A-League club. The eighth team was a new entity based in Canberra. The league is currently contested by nine teams. The competition is known as the Westfield W-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Westfield Group.

Seasons typically run from November to February and include a 12-round regular season and an end-of-season finals series playoff tournament involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a Grand Final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed 'Premier' and the winner of the grand final is 'Champion'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of five clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and five clubs have been crowned W-League Champions.

From 2012 to 2014, the W-League champion team qualified into an international competition, the International Women's Club Championship.

Brisbane Roar are the current Premiers, having won the trophy for a record-equalling third time. Melbourne City are the current Champion, having won all three Grand Finals, in all three seasons, since their inception to the league in 2015. They are the first team in the competition to win three championships consecutively (2016-2018).

Map of Australia and New Zealand with an inset
W-League
W-League logo
Founded25 October 2008
First season2008–09
CountryAustralia Australia
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Number of teams9
Level on pyramid1
Current premiersBrisbane Roar (3rd title)
Most championshipsMelbourne City (3 titles)
Most premiershipsBrisbane Roar
Canberra United (3 titles)
TV partnersFox Sports; SBS
Websitew-league.com.au
2018–19 W-League

History

Between 1996–2004 the Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) was Australia's top women's association football league. In 2004 it was discontinued alongside the men's National Soccer League.

After Australia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, head coach Tom Sermanni felt the establishment of a professional league was vital for continuing the development of players.[1] Football Federation Australia established the league the following year.[2] The W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was Canberra United.[3]

The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth hosting Sydney at Members Equity Stadium.[4] After ten rounds, the regular season finished with Queensland Roar as the top-placed team, becoming the first W-League premiers, and advancing to the semi-finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams. Queensland faced Canberra in the 2009 W-League Grand Final, defeating them 2–0 to take the champions trophy.

Central Coast Mariners were forced to withdraw from the 2010–11 season due to a lack of funding and have yet to return.[5]

When Western Sydney Wanderers joined the A-League for the 2012–13 season, they also entered a team into the W-League, returning the competition to eight teams.

On 13 May 2015, Melbourne City were confirmed to compete in the W-League from the 2015–16 season.[6] The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final.[7]

Competition format

The W-League regular season typically runs from November to February and consists of 12 games per team, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premier".[8] The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the single-game knockout semifinals, with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final.[9]

Organisation

Squad formation and salaries

A W-League squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players. Players typically receive a one-season contract, with many playing in leagues in other countries during the W-League's off-season. Due to the W-League's season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in the W-League and vice versa.

In 2015, teams in the W-League had a salary cap of A$150,000.[10] Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing.[11] In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.[12] Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional.[13]

Some clubs are owned by their state football associations including Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.

For the 2017–18 season a minimum salary was introduced at A$10,000. The average salary therefore rose from A$15,500 to A$17,400. A salary cap was set at A$300,000.[14]

Broadcasting

The 2018-19 season marked the first time that fans would be able to watch every W-League game. All matches will be broadcast or streamed on Fox Sports, SBS Viceland and the My Football Live app. Thursday Night Football was also introduced, meaning 13 stand-alone regular season matches will be played in prime-time and broadcast live on Fox Sports. [15] The Football Federation Australia (FFA) reached a deal with ESPN+ for broadcast rights to W-League games in the United States. ESPN+ will carry at least 17 W-League matches in the 2018-19 season. [16] For the first time ever W-League games would be broadcast on Youtube and Twitter in territories without a traditional broadcast partner. [17]

Stadiums

Primary venues currently used in the W-League:

Stadium Capacity Club
Marden Sports Complex[18] 6,000 Adelaide United
Adelaide Shores Football Centre 1,000 Adelaide United
Perry Park 5,000 Brisbane Roar
Suncorp Stadium 52,500 Brisbane Roar
A.J. Kelly Park 1,500 Brisbane Roar
McKellar Park 2,460 Canberra United
Deakin Stadium 1,500 Canberra United
CB Smith Reserve 2,000 Melbourne City
AAMI Park 30,050 Melbourne City
Kingston Heath 5,000 Melbourne Victory
Broadmeadows Valley Park 5,000 Melbourne Victory
Etihad Stadium 53,347 (rectangular configuration) Melbourne Victory
Lakeside Stadium 15,000 Melbourne Victory
Wanderers Oval 2,000 Newcastle Jets
Adamstown Oval 2,000 Newcastle Jets
Dorrien Gardens 4,000 Perth Glory
nib Stadium 20,500 Perth Glory
Allianz Stadium 45,500 Sydney FC
WIN Stadium 18,484 Sydney FC
WIN Jubilee Oval 22,000 Sydney FC
Marconi Stadium 11,500 Western Sydney Wanderers
Campbelltown Stadium 21,000 Western Sydney Wanderers
Centrebet Stadium 22,500 Western Sydney Wanderers

Other venues previously used by W-League clubs include:

Stadium Capacity Details
Bluetongue Stadium 20,119 Central Coast Mariners
Canberra Stadium 25,011 Used by Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 5.1
Leichhardt Oval 22,000 Used by Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 8 as a double-header.2|-
Wembley Park 2,500 Used by Melbourne Victory in the 2013–2014 season.

1Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Canberra United. 2Sydney FC played this fixture as a home game against Perth Glory. It is also a 'curtain raiser' to the second game, to be played by the Mariners. Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Melbourne Victory.

Referees

The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. Current referees include:

Honours

W-League Major Trophy Winners
Season Premiers (regular season winners) Champions (Grand Final winners)
2008–09 Queensland Roar Queensland Roar
2009 Sydney FC Sydney FC
2010–11 Sydney FC Brisbane Roar
2011–12 Canberra United Canberra United
2012–13 Brisbane Roar Sydney FC
2013–14 Canberra United Melbourne Victory
2014 Perth Glory Canberra United
2015–16 Melbourne City Melbourne City
2016–17 Canberra United Melbourne City
2017–18 Brisbane Roar Melbourne City

Queensland Roar changed their name to Brisbane Roar for the 2009 season.

Records

Most Appearances

As of 18 February 2018 (end of 2017-18 post-season).[20]

Rank Player Appearances
1 Australia Teresa Polias 116
Australia Marianna Tabain
3 Australia Clare Polkinghorne 115
4 Australia Ellie Brush 113
5 Australia Tameka Butt 108
Australia Caitlin Cooper
7 Australia Ashleigh Sykes 107
8 Australia Stephanie Catley 106
9 Australia Laura Alleway 105
10 Australia Gema Simon 104

Top Scorers

As of 18 February 2018 (end of 2017-18 post-season).[21]

Rank Player Goals
1 Australia Michelle Heyman 62
2 Australia Samantha Kerr 53
2 Australia Tameka Butt 49
4 Australia Kate Gill 42
Australia Kyah Simon
6 Australia Ashleigh Sykes 41
7 Australia Lisa De Vanna 39
8 Australia Leena Khamis 38
9 Australia Marianna Tabain 30
10 Australia Emily Gielnik 29

See also

References

  1. ^ Grainey, Tim (26 November 2013). "Grainey: A closer look at the Westfield W-League". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Women in a league of their own". Football Federation Australia. 28 July 2008.
  3. ^ "W-League to debut in October". Fox Sports. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  4. ^ "Girls shop to the top". FourFourTwo. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  5. ^ "Statement regarding Westfield W-League". Central Coast Mariners. 29 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ Hytner, Mike (13 May 2015). "Melbourne City FC to field a W-League side next season". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Melbourne City crown perfect season with W-League grand final win over Sydney FC". The Age. 31 January 2016.
  8. ^ "W-LEAGUE". Soccer Way. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Westfield W-League fixtures and results". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Fairer wages for women to dominate CBA talks". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. ^ "W-League 2013: Melissa Barbieri has to sell possessions to play". smh.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  12. ^ "You can't accuse Sydney FC's W-League team of doing it for anything other than the glory". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  13. ^ Scanlon, Jill (20 October 2015). "The W-League Will Be Looking To Follow The Matildas Pay Deal Path". Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2015. While this is not a full-time professional workload wage, the women can also earn money playing overseas and are therefore considered by the PFA to be categorised as professional.
  14. ^ "W-League players to get huge pay increase for new season". espnfc.com. 11 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Fans able to watch every match of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season". September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "ESPN+ Acquires Broadcast Rights to Westfield W-League in the United States". August 10, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Fans in more corners of the globe set to watch Australian football this season". October 18, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  18. ^ https://www.w-league.com.au/fixtures#!/fixtures/s2018/r5
  19. ^ "Kate Jacewicz to officiate Grand Final". Football Federation Australia. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Australia W-League Women All-time appearances 1-50". www.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Australia W-League Women All-time Topscorers Rank 1-50". www.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 18 February 2018.

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