Plans for Australian second division continue despite A-League’s money woes

Football Australia say the A-League’s current financial crisis won’t stop them launching a new second-tier national competition in 2025.

Despite news that A-League operators APL are laying off about half of their 80 or so staff, an FA spokesperson said: “It’s happening – we’re not changing our plans.”

The A-League is in financial strife with commentators blaming a $40 million investment in APL’s digital and content platform, KEEPUP.

APL (Australian Professional Leagues) took control of the A-League men’s and women’s competitions three years ago, while FA remained responsible for aspects of administration such as registration of players, officials, transfers and the fixture scheduling, and overseeing disciplinary and integrity issues.

A statement from APL said the redundancies were linked to a review of their organisation’s three-year strategy which was put in place when the split with FA went ahead in 2020.

“The review has identified significant opportunities to create efficiencies through consolidation, and this necessitates an organisational restructure that is now underway,” an APL spokesman said.

“APL’s priorities remain the same — to deliver commercial growth and sustainability by creating the most exciting competitions possible for our fans — with strong teams producing great young players across Australia and New Zealand.”

Meanwhile, eight clubs — APIA Leichhardt, Avondale, Marconi Stallions, Preston Lions, South Melbourne, Sydney Olympic, Sydney United 58 and Wollongong Wolves — have been confirmed as founding members of a national second division to start in 2025.

Main photo: Representatives of the eight founding second-tier clubs at the media launch for the new competition.

Up to four more clubs could be added to the competition before plans are finalised in mid-2024.

How promotion/relegation might work

A-League clubs that are struggling

A number of A-League clubs are financially challenged.

Melbourne Victory reported a A$6.7 million loss before 777 Partners invested in the club.

Current men’s title holders Central Coast Mariners a looking for a new investor.

Perth Glory have been struggling to find a new owner after a multimillion-dollar deal fell through last year.

The Newcastle Jets were put up for sale last year and have been propped up with support from other clubs.

Attempts to expand the A-Leagues have had mixed results.

The investment by Texan billionaire Bill Foley in a yet-to-be-named expansion club for Auckland has stimulated interest in New Zealand.

However, plans to find investors for a Canberra expansion club have so far not yielded a result.

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