The Isuzu UTE A-League men’s season will end with four weeks of finals, under a revamped format unveiled today, along with the full 2021/22 fixture list.
Having the semifinal fought out on a home and away basis will add to the drama for fans, A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke said as he confirmed the remaining 20 rounds of the season draw in the wake of relaxing COVID-19 border restrictions.
Under the new finals format for the Isuzu UTE A-League, the team finishing third on the ladder will host the side that comes sixth, while fourth will play fifth, both ties played as single finals.
The sides that finished first and second on the ladder will play the two qualifiers in home-and-away semifinals over two weekends, before the Grand Final follows on the fourth weekend of the finals.
“The new format rewards the sides that finish first and second by eliminating the one-off semifinals, and it rewards the fans who we know love finals football,” said O’Rourke.
“After the excitement of last season generated by a new wave of Australian talent, we think the new campaign promises to deliver even more captivating drama for supporters and viewers.”
The Isuzu UTE A-League season – to be broadcast on Network 10 and Paramount+ – kicks off on November 19 with the reigning champions Melbourne City hosting Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.
Meanwhile tickets are now on sale for the derby clash where Western Sydney take on bitter rivals Sydney FC the following day at CommBank Stadium. The NSW Government has confirmed that the venue will be at 75% venue capacity for the game. Tickets are expected to go on sale for the remaining games shortly.
The balance of the draw for the A-League Women’s competition will be released in the coming days.
As previously advised, the first six rounds of the men’s season will be played in a conference system due to border restrictions and quarantine requirements, with six teams playing each other in NSW and the rest between Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
The balance of the draw anticipates border restrictions for WA and New Zealand being relaxed mid January, but could be adjusted to facilitate earlier games in Perth and Wellington if restrictions are eased sooner.
The fixture list released today includes a clutch of derbies and the traditional Central Coast Mariners New Year’s Eve game, hosting Macarthur FC.
The regular season is due to finish on May 1 before the finals begin the weekend after, and the A-League Men’s season will reach a crescendo with the grand final scheduled for May 28.
For the first time, this season will feature the inaugural Club Championship, a trophy awarded to the clubs with the most success across both the men’s and women’s leagues.
“This season is a landmark moment for football in Australia,” said O’Rourke. “We are proud to be able to deliver another full and action packed season for fans to access in more ways than ever before.
“Last season we saw the emergence of some incredible talent, and those football stories will once again be on display in stadiums this season.
“We have a new and exciting broadcast partnership with 10 ViacomCBS for our broadcast on free-to-air television as well as Paramount+ and our clubs are eager to start playing games.”
Further information regarding stadium capacity and attendance limits will be released in the coming weeks.