Promotion/relegation announced for A-League in 2016

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It’s been discussed since the inception of the Hyundai A-League but after ten years of the competition without it, promotion/relegation will be introduced for the 2016 season.

Announced by Head of the Hyundai A-League Damien De Bohun at a press conference in Circular Quay last night, one as yet unknown team will join the competition next year.

Off the back of the strength of the National Premier Leagues (NPL), the NPL Finals Series will become the pathway into the Hyundai A-League, with the relegated team forced to compete in their local state’s competition for a year.

As a way of maintaining the ten current A-League club’s fanbase, the relegation period will only last a maximum of one year for those clubs, following which they’ll be promoted back into the Hyundai A-League along with another NPL club.

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It means that by 2018 the league will become a 12 team competition, with the possibility of the league growing in the years to follow pending results.

Damien De Bohun in Circular Quay, announcing a new competition format for the Hyundai A-League

It’s a monumental step forward for football in Australia and for De Bohun it’s a dream that’s finally come true.

“This is the culmination of three years of hard work, countless discussions with clubs, and many sleepless nights worrying about the viability of such an endeavour.

“When the AFC made it a prerequisite for garnering an additional spot into the AFC Champions League, we made a decision then and there to chase the dream and make it a reality.

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“I know it will be tough on some of the less established clubs should they be relegated – Melbourne City for example find it tough to maintain a crowd at the best of times – but it’s for the good of the game.”

A buoyant De Bohun fielded questions from media eager to understand the specifics of the promotion/relegation system for over half an hour. Eventually he concluded by quoting PT Barnum.

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“Without promotion, something terrible happens… Nothing!”

Details of how Wellington Phoenix fit in the format are yet to be revealed. Also noted was that in the first year of promotion/relegation only NPL teams competing in New South Wales will be eligible.

In other news, it is rumoured Football Federation Australia will look to sell the A-League’s free-to-air rights to Channel 7’s upcoming digital station ‘C7 Sport’.

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