|Founded||25 October 2008|
|Number of teams||9|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Current champions||Melbourne City (1st title)|
|Current premiers||Melbourne City (1st title)|
|Most championships||Brisbane Roar
Canberra United (2 titles)
|Most premierships||Brisbane Roar
Canberra United (2 titles)
The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia, run by Football Federation Australia (FFA). The W-League was established in 2008 and was composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an A-League clubs. The eighth team was a new entity based in Canberra. The league is currently contested by nine teams. The competition is known as the Westfield W-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Westfield Group.
Seasons typically run from November to February and include a 12-round regular season and an end-of-season finals series playoff tournament involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed 'premier' and the winner of the grand final is 'champion'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of four clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and four clubs have been crowned W-League Champions. Since 2012, successful W-League clubs have gained qualification into the international competition, the International Women's Club Championship. Melbourne City are both the current premiers and champions, having claimed the regular season premiership for the 2015–16 season and also winning the 2016 W-League Grand Final.
After Australia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, head coach Tom Sermanni felt the establishment of a professional league was vital for continuing the development of players. Football Federation Australia established the league the following year. The W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was the Canberra-based Canberra United.
The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth Glory hosting Sydney FC at Members Equity Stadium. After ten rounds, the regular season finished with Queensland Roar as the top-placed team, becoming the first W-League premiers, and advancing to the semi-finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams. Brisbane faced Canberra United in the 2009 W-League Grand Final, defeating them 2–0 to take the champions trophy.
On 13 May 2015, Melbourne City were confirmed to compete in the W-League from the 2015–16 season. The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final.
The W-League regular season typically runs from November to February and consists of 12 rounds, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premiers". The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the knockout finals with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final.
|Team||Location||Stadium||Capacity||Founded||Joined||Dissolved||Last head coach||Last captain|
|Central Coast Mariners||Gosford, NSW||Central Coast Stadium||20,059||2008||2008||2009||Stephen Roche||Caitlin Cooper|
Squad formation and salaries
A W-League squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players. Players typically receive a one-season contract, with many playing in international leagues during the W-League's off-season. Due to the W-League's season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in the W-League and vice versa.
As of 2015, teams in the W-League have a salary cap of A$150,000. Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to the The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing. In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, with one marquee player earning $70,000 funded by sponsorship. Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional.
From the inaugural season, the national public television network, ABC, had broadcast one match a week each. In November 2014, ABC announced a decision to cease broadcast of the league at the end of the 2014 season as part of widespread budget cuts. Ahead of the 2015–16 season, it was announced that pay-TV network Fox Sports would televise one W-League match a week. The ABC also rejoined the broadcasting arrangement ahead of the 2015–16 season, being entitled to air one live match of the round in conjunction with Fox Sports. In addition to FOX Sports and ABC airing one weekly game, both networks will air both semi-final games and the grand final live.
Primary venues currently used in the W-League:
|Burton Park||1,200||Adelaide United|
|The Shores||1,000||Adelaide United|
|Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre||49,000||Brisbane Roar|
|Perry Park||5,000||Brisbane Roar|
|A.J. Kelly Park||1,500||Brisbane Roar|
|McKellar Park||2,460||Canberra United|
|Deakin Stadium||1,500||Canberra United|
|CB Smith Reserve||2,000||Melbourne City|
|AAMI Park||30,050||Melbourne City|
|Kingston Heath||5,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Broadmeadows Valley Park||5,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Etihad Stadium||53,347 (rectangular configuration)||Melbourne Victory|
|Lakeside Stadium||15,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Wanderers Oval||2,000||Newcastle Jets|
|Adamstown Oval||2,000||Newcastle Jets|
|Ashfield Reserve ||2,000||Perth Glory|
|nib Stadium||20,500||Perth Glory|
|Allianz Stadium||45,500||Sydney FC|
|WIN Stadium||18,484||Sydney FC|
|WIN Jubilee Oval||22,000||Sydney FC|
|Marconi Stadium||11,500||Western Sydney Wanderers|
|Campbelltown Stadium||21,000||Western Sydney Wanderers|
|Centrebet Stadium||22,500||Western Sydney Wanderers|
Other venues previously used by W-League clubs include:
|Bluetongue Stadium||20,119||Central Coast Mariners|
|Canberra Stadium||25,011||Used by Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 5.1|
|Leichhardt Oval||22,000||Used by Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 8 as a double-header.2|-|
|Wembley Park||2,500||Used by Melbourne Victory in the 2013-2014 season.|
1Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Canberra United. 2Sydney FC played this fixture as a home game against Perth Glory. It is also a 'curtain raiser' to the second game, to be played by the Mariners. Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Melbourne Victory.
The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. Referees include:
- Sara Hodson
- Lee Corey
- Kirralee Gardener
- Jacqui Melksham
- Pru Donohoe
- Amelia Morris
- Kate Jacewicz, who refereed the inaugural W-League Grand Final.
- Casey Reibelt
|Season||Premiers (regular season winners)||Champions (Grand Final winners)|
|2008–09||Queensland Roar||Queensland Roar|
|2009||Sydney FC||Sydney FC|
|2010–11||Sydney FC||Brisbane Roar|
|2011–12||Canberra United||Canberra United|
|2012–13||Brisbane Roar||Sydney FC|
|2013–14||Canberra United||Melbourne Victory|
|2014||Perth Glory||Canberra United|
|2015–16||Melbourne City||Melbourne City|
Queensland Roar changed their name to Brisbane Roar for the 2009 season.
|6||Lisa De Vanna||33|
The league presents annual awards for outstanding achievements including:
- Julie Dolan Medal
- Young Player of the Year
- Player's Player of the Year
- Goalkeeper of the Year (Golden Glove)
- Golden Boot
- Goal of the Year
- Coach of the Year
- Referee of the Year
- Fair Play Award
- W-League (Australia) all-time records
- Women's soccer in Australia
- Australia women's national soccer team
- Women’s National Soccer League (WNSL) - defunct Australian women's national league
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While this is not a full-time professional workload wage, the women can also earn money playing overseas and are therefore considered by the PFA to be categorised as professional.
- "ABC TV cut broadcast of 2015/16 Westfield W-League". w-league.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
- "W -League games to be played as A-League curtain-raiser and broadcast live on Fox Sports". couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "W-League returns to ABC TV in partnership with FFA and Fox Sports". ABC News. 15 September 2015.
- "FOX SPORTS and ABC TV to broadcast Westfield W-League". Football Australia. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
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- "Westfield W-League Awards". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 30 November 2013.