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Confirmed: Start dates for 2023-24 A-Leagues seasons

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The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has confirmed the start dates for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League Women and Isuzu UTE A-League Men seasons.

It has been announced that the Liberty A-League campaign will kick-off on the weekend of 13-15 October – a week after the final of the Australia Cup – ahead of the Isuzu UTE A-League season on the weekend of 13-15 October.

Off the back of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the league extends to a 22-game regular season upon the introduction of Central Coast Mariners, while defending champions Sydney FC try to claim back-to-back titles.

The following week, the Isuzu UTE A-League campaign will get underway on the weekend of 20-22 October, with Central Coast Mariners the titleholders.

The announcement coincides with the release of Football Australia’s 2023-24 Domestic Match Calendar on Friday; both leagues will conclude in May 2024, while the FA has a placeholder in the calendar for the proposed National Second Tier (NST) to run between March and October next year.

“Every player in the Matildas squad came through the A-League – on average each playing 85 games – and it is imperative we continue to expand our league and provide more opportunities to play, as the Liberty A-League continues to be the proven pathway for international football,” said commissioner of the A-Leagues Nick Garcia.

“With the addition of the Central Coast Mariners this season, we are looking forward to another history-making season for the league.

“The final of the Australia Cup will kick start a huge month of football in October, with the decider of the cup competition set to take place on the weekend of 6-8 October. We’ll then kick off the Isuzu UTE A-League regular season a fortnight later, again with a 26 round regular season.

“As part of the scheduling, we’ve also been working closely with Football Australia, Clubs and other stakeholders to determine the best path forward for our season alongside the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.

“In order to maintain consistency, to avoid mid-week regular season games and congestion with the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup competitions, it has collectively been decided that we will not pause the regular season during the tournament.”

Key dates/features of the DMC 2023-24 include:

  • Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s 2023-24 regular season to commence from Friday, 20 October 2023, with the 2023-24 Grand Final to be contested in May 2024
  • Liberty A-League Women’s 2023-24 regular season to commence from Friday, 13 October 2023 with the 2023-24 Grand Final to be contested in May 2024
  • Final match of the DMC 2023-24 to feature the 2023 Australia Cup Final with a date TBC
  • National Premier Leagues 2024 seasons – both men’s and women’s – to commence from Friday, 2 February 2024 (men’s) and conclude by Sunday, 8 September 2024
  • Placeholder between March 2024 and October 2024 for the commencement of the National Second Tier competition (men’s)
  • Player welfare windows included in both men’s and women’s calendars to ensure players can obtain rest/take annual leave between seasons/elite football commitments

“With the Domestic Match Calendar 2023/24 now finalised, staff at Member Federations, the Australian Professional Leagues, and Football Australia, as well as clubs within the Australian football ecosystem, can more thoroughly plan their activities for the period from 8 October 2023 to 5 October 2024,” said FA CEO James Johnson.

“Our national teams have another busy 12 months ahead with FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers commencing later this year, the staging of the rescheduled AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in January plus Olympic Qualifiers for both our CommBank Matildas and Subway Olyroos ahead of Paris 2024, meaning it’s crucial for our best domestic-based players to be available for these fixtures and tournaments.

“We are currently in a golden window for Australian football which started with the Subway Socceroos’ outstanding showing at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year and continues this month with Australia co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup. There has never been a more important time for our game to be united and aligned, allowing it to seize upon the increased interest and best maximise opportunities to engage fans, audiences, and the commercial sector.

“With so much activity occurring at a local and international level, the development of the Domestic Match Calendar isn’t an easy task, however, it’s an important piece of work which was achieved through the ongoing collaboration between stakeholders from across the game.”