The A-League is the top division of men’s professional soccer in Australia and is run by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA). It was launched in 2004 as the successor of the National Soccer League and includes 9 Australia based teams and 1 New Zealand based team.
The 10-team league features 270 matches with each team playing the other team 3 times each season and runs from October through May. The team that hosts 2 matches one season will play away to that team 2 times the following season. The international point system of 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss is awarded. The team with the highest point total at the end of the season is called the A-League ‘Premiers.’ They are awarded the Premier’s Plate.
The top 6 teams from the A-League regular season are entered into the playoffs, known as the Finals Series. The top 2 teams receive a bye to the semifinal while the other 4 teams open with face off in a semifinal playoff match. The winner of the Grand Final, the championship game of the playoffs, is called the ‘champion’ to distinguish them from the regular season winner. The tournament winner is presented the A-League Trophy. Affectionately called the ‘toilet seat’.
The A-League Premier and the Champion each receive a berth in the AFC Champions League.
The A-League does not use a relegation/promotion system.