The XI Principles for the Future of Australian Football (XI Principles) identifies the connection of the football pyramid as being crucial to the objective of resetting and rebuilding Australian football products.
The creation of a national football calendar and the consequential realignment of Australian football competitions are the first tangible steps to the broader integration and connection of the Australian football pyramid.
In developing the Domestic Match Calendar 2021/22 (DMC 2021/22), Football Australia has set out to achieve the following key objectives:
- Unite the game through improved alignment of domestic football activities to enhance engagement and drive participation and growth;
- Enhance transparency to improve and facilitate planning of football activities e.g. FFA Cup, Junior National Championships, Talent ID activities.
- Improve the possibility of creating unique football experiences through stakeholder alignment and engagement e.g. annual festival-style events and the opportunity for finals football to be played each year, including the FFA Cup Final as the last match of the football calendar year; and
- Align the professional competitions with the AFC calendar and the FIFA IMC.
In this regard, the National Registration, Status and Transfer Regulations provide that all football Competitions must be played in accordance with the DMC 2021/22.
The DMC 2021/22 contains the fundamental elements of the Australian football Season, which include:
- Transfer Windows for the movement and registration of player in Professional Competitions;
- defined season windows for the A-League, Westfield W-League, NPL Men’s and NPL Women’s, in addition to the FFA Cup;
- the Football Australia National Team activity in accordance with the FIFA International Match Calendar (IMC).
The DMC 2021/22 ensures the integration of Australian football into the global football landscape, by reflecting the IMC international windows for the National Teams as well as key Asian Football Confederation (AFC) dates. It also reflects policy with respect to the status of Australia’s top tier club competitions during these national team windows.
Football Australia has agreed with the Australian Professional Leagues that the A-League and Westfield W-League will break for the applicable FIFA Men’s and Women’s International Windows, as specified in the IMC. Due to the ongoing effects of COVID however, exceptions to this principle will be applied.
The DMC 2021/22 is the foundation of an integrated and aligned domestic football pyramid. It provides all stakeholders and participants with clarity and transparency regarding club and National Team activity and enables all stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for growing and developing the game.
The DMC 2021/22 is the product of extensive stakeholder consultation, with every iteration of the DMC a further step towards the principles and objectives of the XI Principles. Football Australia would like to acknowledge all the stakeholders involved in the consultation process, in particular the Member Federations, the APL and the PFA.