The APL have announced plans that involve three current A-League outfits are set to join the W-League prior to the commencement of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
This would mean that the W-League will expand from nine to 12 teams with Wellington, Western United and Central Coast poised to enter the competition.
Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have stated that it is likely that one team will enter the W-League for this upcoming campaign while the other two will enter the league the following season.
Reports state from AAP and ESPN that the Wellington Phoenix remain the likely team to enter the competition for next campaign, pending any potential issues or flare ups arising from approval from the APL and regulatory bodies involved with the awarding of a W-League licence.
In a move towards expansion, it was also announced by the APL that the pre-existing finals series once there are 12 teams in the W-League will be expanded to a three-week finals series with the addition of a preliminary final.
Townsend also stated the potential for more games to arise, with a home and away season for the W-League having been vouched for by supporters of the competition.
“This is just the beginning of a sustained investment programme in women’s football – we announced unbundling just 8-months ago, and are already bringing more games, more players, better broadcast, improved employment conditions and enhanced footballing pathways.” Townsend said.
In addition, it has been reported that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is closed to being finalised with improved pay conditions, equal support for men and women, access to elite facilities and more being featured within the new CBA.
Kate Gill, CO-CEO of the PFA stated:
“The players have been vocal advocates for the growth of the competition and positively APL’s women’s football strategy will not only provide additional employment opportunities and match minutes for our talented players but delivers a healthy boost to the W-League in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”
The 2021/22 W-League season is due to kick off on November 13, with Danny Townsend stating to AAP that the league would be prepared to push it back if the ongoing lockdowns in NSW and Victoria remain.