Football Australia is willing to overrule the wishes of new A-League, W-League broadcaster Channel 10 to align the competitions with the National Premier Leagues.
FA today revealed that they are meeting with the AAFC in June, which represents the NPL clubs keen on starting a national second division, to finalise a model for the A-League's second tier.
The crux of the meeting - other than deciding the NSD teams - will involve forming an agreement on aligning the A-League and NPL seasons, to allow for future promotion and relegation, as well as transfer windows and FFA Cup competitions.
This is concurrent with Perth Glory CEO, Tony Pignata's comments yesterday that the A-League will definitely break for international windows next season.
While the A-League clubs want international breaks to keep hold of their best players, and the FA want a second division to improve fan engagement, new broadcaster Channel 10 reportedly wants to kick off the A-League season in October.
However FFA said in a statement, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald, that it will “retain regulatory functions in respect of the professional leagues, including matters relating to on-and-off-field disciplinary and integrity matters, the registration of clubs, players and officials, the transfer system, and the domestic match calendar.
“Our objective is to implement an aligned domestic match calendar in 2022 and this will involve discussions with the APL and Network Ten on the commencement of the 2021/22 A-League and Westfield W-League seasons in line with Football Australia’s objectives.”
The later the A-League season begins, the more the tail-end of the season, which contains its showpiece games, competes directly with AFL and NRL matches.
Network 10 is reportedly keen to spend big on advertising the competition before its launch next season, in the hopes that football can replace the huge ratings hole that The Big Bash League left when 10 lost the rights.
It's also likely to rely heavily on the A-League - and other rumoured football deals it's looking to sign, such as the Asian Cup and AFC Champions League - to promote subscriptions to its new digital streaming service, Paramount+.