The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has announced its inaugural ‘Unite Round’ in partnership with the NSW Government and Destination NSW (DNSW). Heres what has been reported today.
Between Friday January 12 and Sunday January 14, Sydney will play host to all 12 Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women matches, as the A-Leagues become the first leagues to celebrate a full men’s and women’s round in a single city. The weekend will also host a series of grassroots competitions and activities for children and teens.
The ‘Unite Round’ is being introduced for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, as the APL’s partnership with DNSW enters its second year. As part of the updated partnership, the hosting rights for the Grand Finals will revert to the traditional format with hosting rights awarded to the highest placed qualifier from the Semi Finals, starting from season 2023-24.
Conroy said it was unlikely that the APL would consider taking grand final hosting rights to market again.
The APL and NSW government confirmed on Wednesday they would scrap the remainder of the three-year deal which guaranteed Sydney would host the men’s and women’s grand finals through to 2025. The NSW government won’t be getting its money back. Instead, it has struck a deal with the APL to host two special rounds in Sydney featuring all 12 men’s and women’s matches in an effort to make the most of the league’s U-turn.
During ‘Unite Round’, the double header matches will be hosted at Allianz Stadium, CommBank Stadium and Leichhardt Oval, and grassroots tournaments for junior boys and girls will take place at venues across Sydney.
- As such, on Friday 12 January there will be an Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s double header at Commbank Stadium and a Liberty A-League Women double header at Leichhardt Oval.
- On Saturday 13 January there will be an Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s double header at Allianz Stadium and a Liberty A-League Women double header at Leichhardt Oval.
- Finally, on Sunday both the Men’s and Women’s competitions will Unite together and a double header will be played across both competitions at Allianz Stadium and Leichhardt Oval.
According to Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham Unite Round will also deliver strong economic and community benefits for the people of NSW – it is estimated Unite Round will attract more than 42,000 people to Sydney for the event and generate more than $10.2 million in visitor expenditure for the state’s economy
Announcing the new deal on Wednesday, the New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, insisted Leichhardt Oval would be equipped to host the matches. Conroy said NSW Premier Chris Minns had given assurances that upgrades to Leichhardt Oval would ensure the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ was suitable to host four of the six ALW games across the weekend.
A live site at Moore Park will also feature a fan park and viewing party for the AFC Asian Cup match in Qatar between Australia and India’s men’s teams on Saturday 13 January at 10:30pm AEDT.
For the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, ‘Unite Round’ will be an additional round – making it a 27-game regular season. The existing Round 12 fixtures are being moved to new dates and times. For the Liberty A-League Women, ‘Unite Round’ will use the existing Round 12 fixtures, keeping the season as a 22-game regular season.
Some Liberty A-League Women teams will lose hosting rights for one home game. However the A-Leagues will be working with all home clubs to ensure the home team receives the treatment of being the home club.
Club memberships do not grant you access to any Isuzu UTE A-League matches during Unite Round. All Club Members will be provided with a Member discount to purchase tickets, similar to the Finals Series. As Unite Round is an existing round for the Liberty A-League Women (Round 12), home team ALW Club Members will be provided access to their team’s home game at no additional cost
Football Supporters Association Australia said it was delighted with the decision to alter the agreement “for the good of the game, the league and the millions that support it”.
Tickets are set to go on sale at 10am Monday 6 November. All Club Members will receive access to discounted tickets for games across the whole weekend.
References and Coverage
- A-Leagues announce first ever Unite Round to take place this season (a-leagues)
- What is Unite Round? How does it work? Key questions answered (a-leagues)
- Sydney scores A-League’s debut Unite Round (NSW GOV)
- A-Leagues scrap controversial Sydney grand final deal in favour of new ‘Unite Round’ (The Guardian)
- A-Leagues scrap controversial grand final decision in favour of Unite Round (The ABC)
- A-League ditches controversial Sydney Grand Final as league unveils ‘Unite Round’ (Perthnow/AAP)
- A-Leagues reverse controversial grand final deal with Destination NSW (SMH)
- Grand final deal canned, NSW to instead host ‘Unite Round’ in January (Heraldsun)
- FSAA Statement