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A-League set to grow to 16 teams by 2025 in HUGE move for Australian football

A-League set to grow to 16 teams by 2025 in HUGE move for Australian football

Canberra and Auckland will finally enter the A-League as part of the expanded format.

The A-League is set to expand to both men’s and women’s competitions to 16 sides by 2025 with two new teams coming in the 2024-25 season.

Canberra will finally enter the A-League men’s league as part of the expanded format after multiple attempts and bids to join the competition.

They’ll be joined by an Auckland-based side in the 2024-25 season, with the additional two teams set to join in the 2025-26 season.

A-League Women's side Canberra United.
Xinhua / Alamy

Fox Sports reports that Australian Professional Leagues chief Danny Townsend said several markets were being considered for the final two licenses.

However, one is almost certain to be from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

The other markets being considered are reportedly Wollongong, Adelaide, Perth, and Tasmania.

Townsend said, as per Fox Sports: “We’ve got a very clear growth strategy … and part of that is bringing more football to more communities.

“We’re focused on building really strong sustainable clubs into the future, and we definitely think Canberra and Auckland fit that bill.

“We’ve got under-served markets as the priority in this round.

“Next round … we’re certainly looking at derbies (as a reason for expansion).”

Football Australia has the power to knock back any expansion plans however, Townsend says they have been supportive of the move.

The APL will look to find owners from both local and international for the teams.

Townsend added: “Our priority here is having two new clubs come in (for the 2024-25 season) … and hit the ground running.”

It’s a different strategy to the expansion of 2018 that saw the birth of Western United and Macarthur FC.

Dave Hewison Sports / Alamy

Instead, the APL has researched which markets hold the most potential for potential A-Leagues franchises.

It follows news of the FA inviting expressions of interest for a national second division to start next year.

The possibility of promotion and relegation is one that Australian football fans have been after for years.

Townsend touched on the possibility, saying: “There’s two big determining factors there: financial sustainability and high performance capability.

“If [the second division is] able to demonstrate both those things, then there’s no reason you wouldn’t take it seriously. But that’s a long way away.”

Featured Image Credit: Speed Media / Alamy. Zuma Press / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, A League, Football