A massive majority want to see the way the A-League is run comprehensively overhauled according the poll of players conducted by Players Football Australia.

There results show a staggering 87% want expansion of the A-League to create more clubs and more playing opportunities, while 74% also want a second national division, ultimately leading to promotion and relegation.

But in a broadside to Football Federation Australia which is currently actively trying to block a similar move by the FIFA-appointed Congress Review Working Group, 78% of A-League players also want to see an independent A-League, freed from the FFA shackles.

Players say there are too few minutes available for professional players in the current set up and that's reflected in the stat that last season saw the oldest average age on record for the A-League.

Four out of ten players were on their first year of contract and more than half felt concerned or slightly concerned about where their career was headed...while two-thirds were on the final year of their playing deal.

Apathy with the current set up was also reflected in crowd numbers with figures down more than 13% year on year.

But despite the drop in crowds, even at Sydney while they were on yet another winning spree, away players said the best atmosphere was at Moore Park games last season, with Western Sydney Wanderers in second place and Melbourne Victory third.

Wellington Phoenix's Westpac Stadium had the best pitch according to players, with Spotless and nib Stadiums tying for best Aussie pitches. Adelaide Oval's pitch was voted the absolute worst by players.

The report found Sydney FC had the shortest turnaround time between games last season, with one match every 5.8 days, while Newcastle Jets had the longest at 7.5 against a league average of 6.85.

Perth Glory unsurprisingly travelled the most and the furthest again last season, taking 17 flights and running up more than 97,000km (with Melbourne Victory second) while least travelled Western Sydney Wanderers only notched up 20,000km and eight flights.

On the technical front, compared with the MLS, Bundesliga and J. League, the A-League last season had

  • fewer passes per match but more through balls
  • fewer long shots but more shots converted
  • fewer no score draws and more goals per game
  • Much less overall possession, but much closer when comparing the top two teams from each league
  • fewer fouls per yellow card and way more yellows overall
  • and more penalties and red cards.

Players rated the refs between 62% and 70% on communication, decision-making and player safety.

Overall, the PFA said injuries last season cost clubs a total of $5.3m and saw players miss 721 matches in total, up on last season. Each injury meant missing 4-5 weeks on average.

The top five injuries in order were hamstrings, knees, calf and groin injuries, and ankle injuries.


PFA chief executive John Didulica said the A-League was at a key moment in its history – but says the future still looked bright.

"The report reveals a number of pressing challenges facing the A-League," said Didulica. "Attendance and TV figures are down. Player churn is at historic highs.

"Competitive balance and financial robustness are myths, yet players – and clubs through the inability to build value in their squads - continue to endure significant adverse side effects of a broken Salary Cap that was supposed to promote those outcomes."

But he added: "I remain so optimistic about the future of the A-League. Yes, we are at the crossroads.

"However, the report highlights we still have an all-action, entertaining and high-scoring competition, while sensible and collaborative decision-making will ensure positive outcomes for players, fans, clubs and the broader game."