A-Leagues clubs want bigger role for Football Australia

Football Australia has been sounded out to take on a greater role in the running of the A-Leagues, as clubs grow increasingly frustrated with the Australian Professional Leagues.

Less than four years after the clubs 'unbundled' from FA there is an increased desire for the national governing body to take a more hands-on approach.

Multiple sources have told AAP clubs are concerned with the direction of the competitions under the APL, who took control of the A-League Men and A-League Women in late 2020.

There is unlikely to be an appetite to hand total control back to FA, but a cohort of clubs believe a more collaborative approach with the governing body can help shore up the A-Leagues' future.

Clubs remain unclear on the distribution of revenue for the next league campaign, with many due to begin pre-season training over the next month.

Board meetings to discuss next season's distributions have been pushed back twice over the last month.

Clubs were promised a brighter future after splitting with FA in 2020 but have instead seen the competitions take several wrong turns.

Since the parting of ways, the APL's decision to sign a broadcast deal with Network Ten and its pay-per-view platform Paramount has reduced the competition's visibility among casual fans.

Global Advance, a start-up broadcast production company which won the first contract to produce games for Network Ten, went into administration late last season.

Sydney FC celebrate winning the ALW grand final in 2024.
There has been a surge in interest in the women's game, but some clubs feel more can be achieved. (Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS)

The APL has also been criticised for spending big on start-up digital platform Keepup, and breaking with tradition to sell off grand-final hosting rights to tourism body Destination NSW.

As AAP reported in January, plans to expand the men's competition to 16 teams by the start of the 2025-26 season have been shelved, despite the APL's initial hopes of garnering $25 million in expansion fees per new club.

Only a side in Auckland, who will enter the ALM next year, has so far been given the green light, with plans for a men's team in Canberra put on hold for 12 months.

There have been bright spots enjoyed by clubs since they gained independence from FA, including a boom in popularity in the women's game and an increase in transfer revenues.

But clubs are eager to piggyback off the momentum of unprecedented success on the global stage for national sides the Socceroos and Matildas.

FA last week received $15 million in government funding ahead of the 2026 Women's Asian Cup.