The Wellington Phoenix today have welcomed the announcement last night of the unbundling of the A-League, W-League and Y-League (Professional Leagues) from Football Australia (FA).
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This investment by private individuals is unparalleled in New Zealand football, both financially and in management and governance expertise – and has enabled the support structures around the Wellington Phoenix to grow and develop.
From 1 January 2021, the newly formed Australian Professional Leagues (APL) will take over the operational, commercial, and marketing control of the Professional Leagues and all revenue generation responsibilities.
The announcement last night was the culmination of several years of negotiation between the parties, with the owners of the clubs – who have invested many millions of dollars into the enterprises – determined to create a structure where each dollar of investment maximises the value for the Leagues. APL is jointly-owned by all 12 A-League clubs and the Wellington Phoenix, as one of the 12 professional clubs, now have their place hard-coded as an equal owner and participant in the League.
Wellington Phoenix Chairman, Rob Morrison, says that the Welnix ownership group has continued to fund and develop football in New Zealand through many years of extraordinary challenges.
“This investment by private individuals is unparalleled in New Zealand football, both financially and in management and governance expertise – and has enabled the support structures around the Wellington Phoenix to grow and develop,” says Morrison.
“There is now a definable and successful pathway through youth football to professional football in Australasia, with the potential for New Zealand players to move onto other professional leagues around the world.”
Wellington Phoenix General Manager, David Dome, says that the Wellington Phoenix Academy is now arguably one of the most successful in the A-League.
“We now have a number of Academy graduates playing professional football in the A-League and around the world at the forefront of all A-League clubs,” says Dome.
“There are plans to further expand the Academy and its offering, and the negotiations for a place for the Phoenix in the W-League will continue.
“These developments, which are of huge benefit to football in New Zealand, have only been made possible due the enormous perseverance and investment of the Welnix ownership group.”
At A Glance
- The 12 professional clubs, under the banner of Australian Professional Leagues (APL), will take over the operational, commercial, and marketing control of the Professional Leagues and all revenue generation responsibilities.
- Wellington Phoenix is an equal owner of APL which solidifies participation in the A-League, with negotiations around W-League ongoing.
- Football Australia 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.
- Football Australia will also retain ‘good of the Australian game’ rights in respect of the Professional Leagues, which apply to a variety of matters that are aimed at ensuring the ongoing growth of the Professional Leagues.
- As part of the unbundling, the APL will also obtain the exclusive right to use the intellectual property rights associated with the E-League brand.
- The APL Board will comprise of five (5) directors from the Clubs, three (3) independent directors, and one (1) person appointed by Football Australia. An independent Chair to be elected by the Clubs and ratified by Football Australia, will have a casting vote on the APL Board.
- Greg O’Rourke, currently Head of Leagues at Football Australia, will take on a new role as Commissioner of the Professional Leagues for APL.