The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) have today announced additional updates to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for players in the Liberty A-League that will see continued investment and improved conditions across the growing competition to drive up playing standards in Australasia’s elite women’s league.

The regulatory changes to the five-year agreement struck in 2021 follow the competition’s annual review by the PFA and the APL, and focus on a sustainable increase to the minimum and maximum player payments including a 20 per cent lift in the salary cap, an increase in foreign player quotas, the introduction of youth development players and amendments to the Scholarship Player category.

Commenting on the updates, Nick Garcia, A-Leagues Commissioner, said: “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.”

“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.”

Kate Gill, PFA Co-Chief Executive, said: “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 

Following a record-breaking season that saw more games, goals and fans than ever before, the Liberty A-League Women will kick off on the weekend of 13-15 October. As Central Coast Mariners’ women’s team joins the league as the latest expansion team, this will be a 22 game regular season as the league continues to expand to meet international standards.