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The A-League is the highest professional men's football league in Australia. At the top of the Australian league system is the country's main sports competition. The A-League was founded in 2004 by the Football Federation Australia (FFA) as the successor to the National Soccer League (NSL) and the competition began in August 2005. The league is currently contested by eleven teams. Ten in Australia and one in New Zealand. It is known as the Hyundai A-League through a sponsorship agreement with the Hyundai Motor Company.
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The season lasts from October to May and includes a regular season with 26 rounds, followed by a finals series playoff with the best-placed teams, culminating in a great final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is referred to as the "Premier", while the winner of the grand finale is the "champion" of the season. This differs from the other major football rules in Australia, where "Premier" designates the winner of the grand finale and the winner of the regular season the "Minor Premier".
Successful A-League clubs qualify for the continental competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL), also known as the AFC Champions League. Similar to the United States and Canada's Major League Soccer, as well as other professional sports leagues in Australia, the Australian A-League has no promotion and relegation.
Since the opening season of the league a total of seven clubs have been crowned A-League Premieres and six clubs to A-League Champions. The current premiere is Perth Glory, who finished first in the 2018-19 A-League. The current champion is Sydney FC, who won the A-League Grand Final in 2019. This is the record of four national titles held by Melbourne Victory, Marconi Stallions, South Melbourne and Sydney City. The A-League does not recognize the story of its predecessor, the National Soccer League (NSL), which was the country's most important football competition from 1977 to 2004.
Regular season-Competition format
The regular season runs mainly in the Australian summer from early October to April of the following year. The competition consists of 27 rounds, with each team playing three times against each other team. The teams, who have been awarded two home games against an opponent in a season, receive a home game against this opponent in the following season. In each game, the winning team will receive three points of competition, each receiving one point for a draw. The club at the top of this ladder is crowned A-League Premier and entered in the AFC Champions League since the 2005-06 season. The Premier receives a trophy known as Premier's Plate.
After completing the regular season, the six best-placed teams reach the finals. The position of each team is determined by the highest number of points collected during the regular season. If two or more teams are tied, the following criteria apply until one of the teams can be considered higher:
Highest goal difference;
Highest number of goals scored;
Highest score in games between the teams involved;
Highest goal difference in the games between the teams involved;
The highest number of goals scored in the matches between the teams involved.
Lowest number of red cards collected;
Lowest number of collected yellow cards;
Melbourne Victory celebrates after their 2007 A-League Grand Final win.The six best clubs reach the final round at the end of the regular season. The final series culminates in the A-League Grand Final, where the winner is crowned A-League Champion and receives a place in the AFC Champions League. The club that wins the grand final receives the A-League trophy.
The final series consists of six teams, ranked by rank, as determined at the end of the regular season. The final series runs over three weeks, with all the games being a sudden death, leading to a big, sudden-death ending that will decide the entire A-League competition. The first and second placed teams will be rewarded at the end of the regular season with a farewell in the first week of the final series and the advantage that each of their semi-finals in the second week of the final series will be held.
The decision to hold an A-League competition with a final series is not in line with overseas football competitions, but with the other major football rules in Australia and also with the predecessor of the A-League, the National Soccer League (NSL).
Of the two big finalists, the team that stood higher on the ladder at the end of the regular season hosted the grand finale. The only exception is when the FFA considers the home of this team as inappropriate. For example, Central Coast Mariners (ranked higher-ranking team) hosted the Grand Final against the Newcastle Jets at Sydney Football Stadium in 2008 as the FFA ruled that the Central Coast Mariners home ground, the Central Coast Stadium, has a capacity of 20,000 players , was too small for the event.
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