APL & PFA’s six big Liberty A-League updates as salary cap goes up 20%: full details

The Australian Professional Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia have updated the Liberty A-League’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with a raft of improvements including a 20% salary cap increase.

The updates come after a landmark five-year agreement was struck in 2021; as the league expands to 12 teams with the re-introduction of Central Coast Mariners in 2023-24, the APL and PFA have gone back to the negotiating table to improve the agreement with an increase in foreign player quotas, the introduction of youth development players and amendments to the scholarship player category, to go with the increase of the salary cap.

A-Leagues commissioner Nick Garcia said the updates are an important advancement for the A-League Women and the league’s future.

“As we continue to expand the league and raise the benchmarks in line with top international standards, these additional updates to the Liberty A-League Women player regulations are an important step forward,” he said.

“We reached a landmark agreement in 2021, and these latest updates reflect our continued ambition to grow our game, increase the investment in our players, and improve the pathway for the next generation to give them more opportunity to play and develop.”

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PFA CEO Kate Gill added: “The Liberty A-League Women is enjoying its most proactive growth phase in competition history, providing greater opportunity for players through more teams and more investment.

“Since 2016, the players have been on a journey to reach full-time professionalism through the Liberty A-League Women by the end of this CBA. These enhancements to the competition underscore the significance of collective bargaining and exemplify the shared determination to create a truly professional and sustainable league.”

The key highlights of the updates to the Liberty A-League Women agreement include:

  • Club Player Payments: a 20 per cent increase to the salary cap compared to season 2022-23 which will see a lift in the minimum and maximum player payments, as follows; minimum player payments of $500,000, and maximum player payments of $600,000. Marquee exemptions remain in place for Clubs to invest in talent outside of the salary cap.
  • Player Roster Framework: revised player roster framework which includes the introduction of a secondary roster to enable Clubs to recruit more players and provide more opportunities to progress to the Liberty A-League Women.
  • New Zealand teams Player Roster: Australian citizens and New Zealand players will now both be counted as ‘domestic players’ when contracted with a New Zealand based team. Thus removing the cap on the maximum number of New Zealand players, importantly, providing a greater pathway and more opportunity for local talent to progress to the Liberty A-League Women (in line with the men’s pathway as approved by Football Australia).
  • Foreign Players: following the continued expansion to 12 Liberty A-League teams, the Foreign Player quota will increase from four (4) to five (5) players which has been approved by Football Australia. This brings the Liberty A-League Women into line with the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, and aims to create a connection with overseas competitions/players, raise the standard of the competition to provide a stronger environment for the next crop of Matildas and Football Ferns to develop whilst female academies are still in development.
  • Scholarship Players: introduction of a minimum salary of $12,400 to replace the previous hourly rate payable. Scholarship Player payments will now also be excluded from the salary cap to provide more flexibility for Clubs whilst guaranteeing a minimum remuneration for players. This restructure includes a revised trigger for an increase in salary if the Scholarship Player now appears in 50% of the Regular Season.
  • Youth Development Players: the introduction of Youth Development Players with the ability for Clubs to register up to four (4) Youth Development Players with the aim to bring through more young talent and provide a better pathway as more female academies are introduced by Clubs 

The 2023-34 A-League Women season kicks off on the weekend of October 13-15, with the Mariners’ re-introduction set to extend the campaign to a 22-game regular season.

UNDER 16? GO FREE! Liberty A-League Pass is back for 2023-24: Under-16s go FREE to A-League Women!