New Hyundai A-League season draw released

The Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season Draw was officially released with 135 matches spread across a 26-Week regular season for the 10 competing clubs before ramping it up with a refreshed Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

The Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season Draw was officially released today with 135 matches spread across a 26-Week regular season for the 10 competing clubs before ramping it up with a refreshed Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

The 2012/13 season kicks off in clear air on October 5 with a Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium and the first round wraps with the Grand Final rematch between Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar at Pattersons Stadium in Perth.

Week 3 sees the inaugural Sydney derby with the soon-to-be-named Western Sydney team hosting Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League-s explosive new rivalry.

Click here to view all the fixtures for season 2012/13.

Season Eight of the Hyundai A-League will also see the introduction of a new knockout finals format with six teams competing over a three week series climaxing in the Hyundai A-League 2013 Grand Final.

This season also sees the Hyundai A-League focus on key calendar dates including a match on Good Friday in Newcastle, three Australia Day matches in Melbourne, Western Sydney and Perth, New Year-s football in Gosford and Adelaide and for the first time ever the Hyundai A-League will take over New Year-s Day with back-to-back matches in Brisbane, Melbourne and Western Sydney.

Season 8 will also see the return of the Community Fixtures with matches set to be played in Dunedin, Launceston and Campbelltown.

The new Hyundai A-League Finals Series format adds more competitive tension by removing the double-chance for the top two, making every game knockout, with extra time and penalties to find a winner if required.

The 2012/13 Finals Series has been shortened to three weeks compared to the previous four-week series, with the top two teams rewarded by receiving a week off in the first week.

The revamped Hyundai A-League Finals Series will now become a straight knock-out cup style format with the 1st and 2nd placed teams taking advantage of a rest in Week 1 of the Finals Series before entering the Week 2 Semi-Finals.

Week 1 will see 3rd play 6th and 4th play 5th at the higher ranked team-s home venue in the Elimination Finals with the winners going through to play away against teams one and two.

Team one will then host the lowest ranked winner from Week 1 of the Finals Series, while team two will face the highest ranked winner from the Elimination Finals.

The highest ranked winner of the Week 2 Semi-Finals will go on to host the Hyundai A-League Grand Final in the final match of the season.

The exciting part of the revised finals series is that it will provide a cut-throat, cup-like atmosphere with no second chances granted to any side in the finals, putting all on notice that anything could happen, even if you do finish the regular season in first place.

“After the success of Season 7, which saw marked increases in crowds, TV audiences, memberships and digital traffic, FFA is excited to announce the 2012/13 season draw will deliver a weekly menu of entertaining and exhilarating football,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.

“We-ve listened to the fans and consulted clubs, broadcast partners, media and venues to design a draw that is both consistent and compelling.

“Personally, I am excited by the revamped Finals Series. It was clear from the feedback that the league should retain a Top Six system and that it also creates a more fiercely contested Finals Series, with the top six teams all fighting for a place in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

“To facilitate this and to rejuvenate the format, FFA wanted to reduce the repetitive nature of the previous system where in the past teams have played each other three times in the four week format.

“The decision to intensify the Finals Series lead to the removal of the preliminary final to replace it with two Semi-Final matches that will provide the platform for a highly energised and uncompromising cup style finals format and allow for a more challenging and thrilling 2013 Finals Series.”