APL release annual report highlighting growth across A-Leagues competitions

APL Annual Report 2023

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) recently released its Annual Report for the last season of A-Leagues action, for 2022/23.

The period was marked by an increased interest in football across Australia and New Zealand due to the successful hosting of the Women’s World Cup in July, and a Men’s World Cup in late 2022, where the Socceroos performed above expectations.

The key takeaways from the APL’s report included:

  • Record number of eight A-League men players selected for the Socceroos squad for the 2022 World Cup
  • 100% of Matildas selected for the 2023 World Cup squad play or have played in the A-League Women competition
  • Aggregated attendances across both A-League Men and Women competitions were up by 46% from the previous season – with record attendances set in both competitions’ final series’
  • 31% year-on-year increase in aggregate minutes viewed of A-League Men matches go on 10 Bold, 10 play and Paramount+
  • 63% year-on-year increase in aggregate minutes viewed of A-League Women matches on 10 Bold, 10 Play and Paramount+
  • 57% increase in goals by U23 A-League Men’s players since 2019
  • 42% increase in contracted players in the A-League Women’s competition since 2018
  • 174% year-on-year increase in KEEPUP users
  • 368% year-on-year increase in social media video views of KEEPUP content

Outgoing APL Chair Paul Lederer elaborated on the achievements of the Australian national teams, 43 of 46 of whom were developed in the A-League Men and the A-League Women competitions.

“The impressive contribution of A-Leagues players to our national teams is not an accident. It is the direct result of investments over many years by our clubs with a vision of a thriving league where fans can watch fast-paced and exciting football,” Lederer said on the release of the annual report.

“This year has seen us begin to awaken the global football economy to the strength of the A-Leagues. Our annual transfer fee records were broken in a single transfer window thanks to the international interest in academy products such as Sammy Silvera, Jordan Bos, Anthony Pavlešić and Marco Tilio.

“It is vital that we continue to support our players’ journeys overseas, and equally vital that we are a destination of choice for local and international players alike.

“Next season, we will add new clubs in both Australia and in New Zealand, with further expansion planned in the following year, creating more opportunities for players, more competitiveness, and more compelling drama for our fans.”

APL CEO Danny Townsend stated that the APL has set in motion an ambitious new strategy in the past two years to help realise a vision – to establish football as the most entertaining and popular sport across Australasia.

“At its heart, APL’s strategy had the intent of inspiring the next-generation of A-Leagues superstars to fulfil their potential,” Townsend said via media release.

“On the eve of a new season, and with unprecedented numbers of young players making their mark in our leagues, there is much for the A-Leagues to be proud of and excited by.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup has delivered football in our region an enormous opportunity. We all must now take responsibility for leveraging the momentum created by the excitement of the tournament. We want to make sure the almost two million fans who attended World Cup games, or the many millions more who were enthralled by the event’s broadcast, look to the A-Leagues as their way of continuing to feel the excitement provided by top-quality football.

“Last season saw the highly successful debut of Western United’s team in the Liberty A-League as part of APL’s expansion strategy across the A-Leagues. This coming season will see the Central Coast Mariners women enter the Liberty A-League providing even further opportunities for talented young girls across Australia and New Zealand.

“The growth of APL’s content business, KEEPUP, has continued at pace over the past year. As a demonstration of the maturing of KEEPUP, it was one of the leading publishers of digital content during the FIFA Women’s World Cup despite not being an official rights-holder.”

Townsend also paid tribute to Lederer, APL’s inaugural Chair in the release of the report.

“Paul has been at the helm through the time of the global pandemic, and during our subsequent extraordinary growth. Quite simply, we could not have done this without Paul’s leadership over the past two and a half years,” he added.

APL recently announced the appointment of former Federal Government Minister, the Hon Stephen Conroy, as its first ever Independent Chair. Lederer will also still remain a member of the APL Board.

The A-League Women competition kicks off on October 14, with the A-League Men start on October 20.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania partake in productive divisional assembly in Singapore

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania engaged in positive talks at the divisional assembly in Singapore for new ambitious strategies for Asian football.

The assembly involved a dialogue between interested sponsors and shareholders with the representatives of 10 Asian FIFAPRO member, candidate, and observer unions.

On the first day, the assembly discussed the central piece of future movements with the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania 2023-2026 strategic framework which allows for streamlining of the collective unions’ player-centred practices and plans.

This included each of the unions presenting effective strategies with the assembly and open discussion on how to improve past strategies that have struggled to enhance the player’s experience and the sports industry.

The second day placed certain player representatives and association shareholders in conversation over a more collaborative focus on the structure of Asian football going into the 2025-26 season.

Importantly, data from the FIFAPRO initiative ‘The Asian Champions League Report’ and other competitions including the AFC Asian Cup, AFC Women’s Club Championship and Olympic Qualifiers were used as first-hand evidence of ways in which more player-based management of football will be beneficial in the new strategies.

The growth of the ever-important tech industry in the sport was evident at the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Player IQ Tech Summit.

Especially the potential for player data capturing in the industry, this summit highlighted how the profitable sector can work well with improving unions’ data research to influence policy and can further elevate their voice within the confederation.

For football, a stronger dialogue between the player’s unions and their respective Asian football institutions and investors will be able to create a more concise strategy for the future p where shareholders can engage in more business advancement while still allowing the players to have an important say in the way in which the game is going.

As Asia itself is such a strong region in the growth of entrepreneurs and business, it is only obvious that connecting this industry with the tradition of player power will be a massive opportunity.

This assemblies focus was accurately outlined by the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania chairperson Takuya Yamazaki.

“Our collective challenge is to design an industry that aligns the collective interests of all stakeholders, rather than continuing with the current hierarchical model which largely defines global football,” he said via media release.

“As football in the region continues to evolve, the division’s role, and the players’ voice, will only become more important, and that’s where our strategic framework provides a clear vision for our current and future work.”

These assemblies reiterate how strong professional leagues where strategies are impacted by players and their unions are profitable and beneficial for the association’s shareholders.

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