A momentous occasion in Australian football was celebrated on Wednesday as the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have merged the men’s top flight A-League together with the women’s top flight W-League and the youth football league Y-League to create the A-Leagues, an inclusive set of competitions that welcomes all genders and ages. It is believed that by unifying the three leagues, football in Australia will be able to thrive as a beautiful game itself, not something that’s been restricted by gender or age.
The former A-League was rebranded into A-League Men, while the W-League was rebranded into A-League Women. Last but not least, the Y-League for youth players was renamed into A-League Youth.
Having taken over the Australian professional football leagues in December 2020, the APL promises that this unification of leagues would send a message of inclusiveness and unity.
“The APL is all about football. Not just men’s football or just women’s football. But just football,” said APL managing director Danny Townsend, as quoted from ABC, “Bringing the female game up onto a level playing field with the men was something we felt really strongly about. We thought that it’s about time that football took a leadership role within this space.”
Ally Green, who plies her trade as a defender in Sydney FC’s women’s team, spoke highly regarding the decision, which is the biggest that Australia’s women’s game have experienced since the establishment of the W-League in 2008.
“It’s a really important message to get across to Australians and worldwide as well,” said Ally, as quoted from ABC, “It’s just Australian football now and it’s a really important message to send to the other sports in Australia.”
Last season’s A-League top scorer, Melbourne City’s Jamie Maclaren, also spoke to ABC about his delight regarding the decision to merge the leagues under a unified banner.
“For all of us to say that we’re underneath one umbrella is a proud moment,” said Maclaren.
However the change did not come without any controversies. Adelaide Building Consulting, a building firm based in the city of Adelaide, may take action against the A-Leagues as the latter had copied the former’s logo as their new identity. While Adelaide Building Consulting took this similarity with stride – addressing football fans on their official Facebook page as well as changing their profile picture into a copy of the A-Leagues’ new logo with the caption “A-Leagues Building Consulting” – the firm’s managing director Timothy Rogers has been flooded with messages, including from lawyers offering their services.
“It’s a bit funny, it’s an odd situation. As for our position, we aren’t sure what we are going to take,” said Rogers, as quoted from Fox Sports Australia, “I would assume we would have some dialogue with the A-League to see what their position is.”