The A-Leagues has announced it will host its first ever Unite Round this season, with every team – men’s and women’s – playing a special round across Sydney from January 12-14.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has announced its inaugural ‘Unite Round’ in partnership with the NSW Government and Destination NSW (DNSW).
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Between Friday, January 12 and Sunday, January 14, Sydney will play host to all 12 Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women matches, as the A-Leagues become the first leagues to celebrate a full men’s and women’s round in a single city. The weekend will also host a series of grassroots competitions and activities for children and teens.
The ‘Unite Round’ is being introduced for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, as the APL’s partnership with DNSW enters its second year. As part of the updated partnership, the hosting rights for the Grand Finals will revert to the traditional format with hosting rights awarded to the highest placed qualifier from the Semi Finals, starting from season 2023-24.
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During ‘Unite Round’, the double header matches will be hosted at Allianz Stadium, CommBank Stadium and Leichhardt Oval, and grassroots tournaments for junior boys and girls will take place at venues across Sydney. A live site at Moore Park will also feature a fan park and viewing party for the AFC Asian Cup match in Qatar between Australia and India’s men’s teams on Saturday 13 January at 10:30pm AEDT.
The Hon Stephen Conroy, Chair of APL, said: “We saw record crowds in the men’s and women’s finals series last season, and we again saw the appetite for professional football in NSW during the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Having all of our teams play in one place, over one weekend, is a fantastic way to serve up the best of the A-Leagues for our fans.
“We are one of the only leagues in the world where almost every club has both men’s and women’s teams, so we are uniquely positioned to create an event like this.
“We thank Premier Minns and the NSW Government for this fundamentally important partnership and for their continuing support for the development of football in Australia.”
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Danny Townsend, CEO of APL said: “The Unite Round is a brand new experience which brings together all A-Leagues clubs, fans and grassroots players together for the very first time in Sydney in an unprecedented celebration of football. With the women’s domestic attendance record already broken twice on the first day of this season, we are looking forward to welcoming A-Leagues fans, old and new, to experience our leagues.”
“We have worked closely with our clubs and fans to ensure that there are suitable constructive mechanisms for the voices of fans to be heard. Many of the resulting conversations have included the hosting of the Grand Finals, and the strong sentiments around that, and we thank DNSW and Premier Minns for their partnership in creating a truly inclusive experience for our game.”
Premier Chris Minns said: “Unite Round is great news for the football community, and for NSW. This will bring fans and players from around the country together in Sydney. I encourage fans to get involved in this festival of football.”
Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said: “This is a chance for fans and players from right around Australia to come together, be united and be part of something special right here in Sydney.
“The Unite Round is a win-win for fans, the game and NSW as it will provide more opportunity for all players and fans to be part of an inclusive football celebration in Sydney.
“Unite Round will also deliver strong economic and community benefits for the people of NSW – it is estimated Unite Round will attract more than 42,000 people to Sydney for the event and generate more than $10.2 million in visitor expenditure for the state’s economy.
Minister for Sport Steve Kamper said: “Sydney has more football fans and players than any other state and our culture of celebrating major sporting milestones is second-to-none.
“We can’t wait to welcome Australia’s football family to Sydney for the debut A-Leagues Unite Round next January and to see this tradition grow.
“This will be the first sporting code to celebrate a full men’s and women’s round in a single city in Australia.”
For the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, ‘Unite Round’ will be an additional round – making it a 27-game regular season. The existing Round 12 fixtures are being moved to new dates and times. For the Liberty A-League Women, ‘Unite Round’ will use the existing Round 12 fixtures, keeping the season as a 22-game regular season.
This A-Leagues event is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Tickets for A-Leagues ‘Unite Round’ will go on sale from Monday, 6 November.