The W-League moniker is no more after it was announced that Australia’s top-flight men’s and women’s soccer competitions will be rebranded under a collective A-Leagues banner.
In a decision designed to promote gender equality and inclusivity, the A-League has been renamed A-League Men and the W-League A-League Women, with the Y-League, retitled A-League Youth.
The Australian Professional Leagues said it had consulted players, coaches, and fans before the reinvention, which makes football the first domestic sporting competition to formally classify its men’s competition.
Part of the change will see the A-Leagues have a unified social media channel for men’s and women’s soccer on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, while a new website is also in the works.
“The APL is all about football – it’s not men’s football or women’s football – it’s just football,” APL managing director Danny Townsend said. “Bringing the female game up onto a level playing field with the men was something we felt really strongly about. That means delivering a world-class experience on and off the pitch and inspiring the next generation of A-Leagues superstars to fulfill their highest potential. This is just the beginning of our ambitious, long-term vision for the growth of football in Australia.”
In addition, the A-Leagues plans to reveal a ‘ground-breaking, world-class digital football platform’ in the coming months, which the organization said will become the home of the professional game in Australia. The rebrand is the latest step taken by the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) since it officially took full control of Australia’s top soccer competitions in December last year.
Other plans include expanding the women’s league by three teams in two years and launching a new club championship to bring the men’s and women’s competitions closer together. A new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was also struck in September with the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) players union.
Earlier this year, Australian cricket captain Meg Lanning called on Cricket Australia to drop the W from WBBL to bring the branding in line with the men’s Big Bash League. At the time, CA chief executive Nick Hockley said that while he encouraged the debate “there are certainly no plans to change it”.
“It’s not men’s football or women’s football, it’s just football,” said APL managing director Danny Townsend. “We’re committed to growing the game in Australia – for everyone. That means delivering a world-class experience on and off the pitch and inspiring the next-generation of A-Leagues superstars to fulfill their highest potential.
“This is just the beginning of our ambitious, long-term vision for the growth of football in Australia.”
The announcement comes ahead of the start of the new Australian professional soccer season, with A-League Men kicking off on 19th November, followed by A-League Women on 3rd December.