Byes, 26 rounds, 11 teams: What will the 2019-20 A-League season look like?

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A potentially defining season for the competition...

While the dust has barely settled on the 2018/19 A-League campaign, the attention of many fans has quickly turned to next season.

With a new club in the form of Western United joining the competition, an uneven 11 sides will face off for the Premiers Plate and championship. 

Football Federation Australia's Head of League's, Greg O'Rourke, has previously confirmed that the regular A-League season will be cut from 27 to 26 rounds moving forward.

But with 11 clubs, the 2019-20 campaign will actually be getting longer as a result of byes.

"One of the reasons we are reducing the games to 26 rounds is because there are byes (next) season which extends the season to 29 weeks," O'Rourke told SMH.

"However, the following season when there are 12 teams, we are back to 26 weeks..."

O'Rourke adamant 26 rounds is an ideal number to avoid repetition of fixtures and to ensure balance when and if the A-League expands to 14 clubs. 

"You might say 'big deal', but 26 rounds is the strategic answer to move away from playing three games (against one side)...the A-League gets stale quickly," O'Rourke said at a Canberra FFA community summit  in May. 

"We get to a situation where if you have 26 games, that's 14 teams, one home and away (game). 

"That's the strategic place we want to land at. You see the AFL has 18 teams into 23 rounds so a lot of teams don't even play twice, let alone three times." 

The decision to reduce the number of rounds instead of increase them has however been meet with heavy criticism on social media. 

26 games nowhere near enough for a proper professional competition if you want to develop players and build a football culture

With 26 rounds and 11 teams, each team will play each other at least twice next season, while bigger fixtures like the Big Blue and derbies will likely be contested three times. 

There's no word as yet when the 2019/20 season will kick off but with the regular campaign set to last 29 weeks, it's likely the competition will start earlier than it did this season where Round 1 kicked off on October 19.

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