The Roar
The Roar


The A-League's promotion-relegation solution needs to be as unique as Australia

The Wanderers are an A-League success story. (AAP Image/ Julian Smith)
Roar Guru
16th May, 2018

With so many bids coming in for the two A-League licences on offer for the 2019-20 season, it is worth considering accepting all that are financially sound and then creating a second tier.

We need at least 16 teams for two tiers to work: eight teams in Division A and eight more in Division B.

The team that finishes on top in Division A receives the premiers plate, and the top four play off to become champions.

Meanwhile, the bottom two are relegated.

The top team in Division B receives automatic promotion, then there’s a final to get the second promotion spot, which sees second play the winner of a playoff between teams three and four.

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We would have each team across the two divisions play each other twice, so it isn’t boring and financially it won’t affect the Division B clubs as much if they were playing just fellow B clubs.

For example, if Sydney FC get relegated, they can still play the Wanderers – in Division A – twice.

What is the point you ask of having two divisions if everyone plays everyone anyway? Well, it’s more prestigious to be in Division A but also, the ultimate Australian champion (and ACL qualifiers) can only come from the top flight.


Australia is unique, so we need creativity – everyone playing each other in the one division on four ocassions is way too much. Also, we don’t have enough money or teams to have two divisions of say 12 or 14 teams each.

Nor can we afford to have current NPL teams in this process, no matter how great their history is – how can the likes of North Geelong or Apia Leichhardt afford to pay wages that would compete with the like of Melbourne City or Western Sydney Wanderers?

With NPL clubs in this two-tiered system, it would be way too predictable who would be relegated and promoted, which defeats the purpose of the exercise.

This proposed model seems foolish but we need to understand the Australian sporting and commercial landscape is different to other countries. We are not England or Spain.

Food for thought!