Melbourne Victory will begin their defence of the W-League two months earlier than expected, thanks to the Asian Cup.
The W-League season will be brought forward two months to allow the staging of the 2015 men’s Asian Cup.
The premier Australian women’s football competition was played from November to February last season but will begin in September this year. The grand final will be on December 21.
Damien de Bohun, the head of the W-League, said Football Federation Australia decided it would be best to run an early competition rather than take a break for the four weeks of the Asian Cup.
“The reason we had to move the Westfield W-League season window to start in September and finish in December is that a number of the Westfield W-League venues will be used as training venues for the AFC Asian Cup 2015 and thus unavailable throughout January,” he said.
“In the interests of the Westfield W-League clubs and players, we decided that it was more important to have continuity throughout the season rather than including a 4 week break.”
De Bohun said W-League clubs were “comfortable” with the move.
The league will again have 12 rounds, before semi-finals and the grand final.
“The last season of the Westfield W-League was arguably the most exciting season to date, with truly world-class players competing, including the presence of the 2013 FIFA Women’s player of the year Nadine Angerer at Brisbane Roar,” De Bohun said.
“Following the success of the Westfield Matildas at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in May, the competition for places in the final squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year will be intense.
“This Westfield W-League season will be the place for these players to stake their claims.”
Among the highlights of the draw are three double-headers, with W-League games preceding A-League games hosted by Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
Premiers Melbourne Victory will take a break from the competition in November to compete in the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan.