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FFA reaches in-principle agreement for independent A-League

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1st July, 2019
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The FFA has today released a statement announcing an in-principle agreement with the New Leagues Working Group (NLWG) to establish independence for the A-League, W-League and Y-League.

Citing a desire to allow Australia’s top domestic football leagues to “flourish and achieve their full potential”, two parties have recognised and agreed on an “immediate need” for the competitions to achieve commercial self-determination.

According to the statement, the key recommendations are as follows.

  • NLWG recognises the immediate need for commercial self-determination for professional Leagues
  • FFA to receive ongoing yields from Leagues for National Teams and grassroots football
  • FFA to hold “Good of the Australian Game” rights and governance representation
  • FFA and APFCA to immediately progress long-form agreements reflecting NLWG recommendations with completion targeted by August 1

The recommendations will further see clubs given “full and perpetual” use of their intellectual property, as well as “unimpeded control” of their commercial rights.

Clubs will no longer be on the hook for licensing payments over the next four seasons, although the new leagues body will be required to make an annual contribution to the FFA for national team and grassroots programs.

FFA chairman Chris Nikou hailed the agreement today, thanking the NLWG members for their work during the process.

“The recommendations of the NLWG serve to align and unite Australian football’s interests like never before,” he said.

“Clubs would have greater control over the strategic and commercial direction of the Leagues, in turn triggering significant new investment in the quality and marketing of all three Leagues.

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“Importantly, FFA would retain influence in key areas of the Leagues through the Good of the Game Share.

“Once finalised, the FFA Board will consider the full details of the proposed reorganisation of the Leagues in accordance with their directors’ duties,” he said.

Football fans in Australia have long advocated for the independent operation of the A-League, arguing that allowing it to operate more like top football competitions in Europe – such as the removal of the salary cap, as well as promotion and relegation – will help keep marquee Australian talent in the country, while also attracting superstars from overseas.

Critics and sceptics, however, warn that such a system could create a very uneven competition that would benefit only a select few clubs.