The 2013-14 A-League season draw will be announced by Football Federation Australia in Sydney on Wednesday, with a later finish date to lead the key points
|By PADDY HIGGS
Chief editor - Australia
The 2013-14 A-League season draw will be revealed on Wednesday by Football Federation Australia, so what can fans expect?
Chief among the key points will be the late finish to the campaign, with the final likely to be played on May 4, 2014.
It is because Football Federation Australia have one eye on Australia's World Cup campaign - should the Socceroos make it - to ensure local-based players are afforded a similar chance to prove their match-fitness for Brazil.
The regular season is tipped to finish on the first weekend of April, 2014, though it should start just one week later than the 2012-13 campaign.
It will mean an occasional weekend off for A-League clubs, with international Fifa dates again not accounted for.
There will also be plenty of interest in Friday fixtures, to be televised live on SBS under the first-ever free-to-air rights deal, announced in November.
|WINNERS AND LOSERS|
The A-League's Socceroos aspirants. The late finish means they will have match-fitness at least until April, making it comparable to their European counterparts. Compare that with 2010, when the A-League regular season finished in mid-February - subsequently killing the hopes of several players.
Coaches looking for more change from their transfer-window buck. The extra games will allow any signing made in the mid-season window a few more weeks to find their feet in the A-League - enormously handy for foreign players in particular.
A-League clubs to achieve AFC Champions League qualification have a hard enough time juggling their overseas and domestic commitments. The late finish, however, will thrust the finals series even further among crucial ACL matches, placing more strain on thin A-League squads.
The standard of football. Finals time should mean finals-quality football, but A-League players may have trouble delivering that due to stadium congestion. Pitch quality will only have decreased due to use by rival codes, potentially affecting the quality of play for A-League teams.