Soccer-New A-League season to kick off in late December

SYDNEY, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The 2020-21 season of Australia’s A-League will kick off on Dec. 27 and run through to June next year, Football Federation Australia said on Thursday.

In changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed the completion of the 2019-20 season until late August, the league will start more than two months later than usual in the middle of the Australian summer.

The league will be comprised of 12 teams with the addition of southwest Sydney club Macarthur FC, bringing Australia’s most populous city level with Melbourne with three teams each.

Sydney FC are defending champions after winning a record fifth title with a 1-0 victory over Melbourne City in the championship final played in front of a small, socially distanced crowd at Western Sydney Stadium.

The 13th season of the women’s W-League will kick off on the same day and run until April, with Melbourne City defending the title they won after going through the 2019-20 season undefeated.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford