|Founded||24 April 2009|
|First season||2010 Kaimu|
|Number of teams||10|
|Domestic cup(s)||Atian Cup|
Whidbey Wanderers |
The A-League (Atian: 甲联赛) is a Atian professional league for association football clubs. At the top of the Atian football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 10 clubs, it operates on a system of franchised clubs, unlike most football/soccer leagues. Seasons are divided into two competitions, the Kaimu and Bimu (开幕 和 闭幕, "opening" and "closing"). The Kaimu runs from February to May, while the Bimu runs from August to November, with teams playing 18 matches in ecah competition, totaling 36 matches per club and 180 matches in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekday evenings.
The competition formed on 24 April 2009 following the decision of clubs in the Atian Premier League to break away from te APL, which was originally founded in 2000, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. Since 1980, clubs have been crowned champions of the Atian football system.
Association football was introduced to Atia in the late 1970s. By 1980, three semi-professional clubs, Atia United, the Baotou Bandits, and the Whidbey Wanderers, formed a competition named the Whidbey–Baotou Series. This double round-robin tournament was declared by the Atian Football Federation the championship of the country's football. The three clubs enjoyed financial success in the tournament and formed the Atian Premier League with two other clubs and five franchises in 2000.
Television money had also become much more important; the Atian Premier League received ϵ1 million for a two-year agreement in 2002 with DSN, but when that deal was renewed in 2004, the price rose to ϵ10 million over four years again with DSN. The 2004 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league; five clubs threatened to leave and form a "super league", but were eventually persuaded to stay.
At the close of the 2009 season, a proposal for the estalishment of a new league was tabled that would bring more money into the game overall. The AL Foundation Agreement, signed on 24 April 2009 by ten clubs, the three original clubs and fie franchised clubs. In 2009, the Atian Premier League clubs resigned from the APL en masse and moved to the new A-League.
The league held its first season in 2010 and was originally composed of 8 clubs. The inaugural members of the new A-League were Atia United, Baotou Bandits, Datong Dragons, Hefei, Nanchang North, Quanzhou Queens, Whidbey Wanderers, and Zyengzhou Athletic.
During the mid-season break, the A-League announced two new franchise clubs for the 2011 season, the Suzhou Sun and Xiamen. The Atian Cup was formed to pit the winners of the Kaimu and Bimu in a two-legged series and determine a national champion. Whidbey Wanderers won the inaugural edition 1–0 over Atia United.
There are 10 clubs in the A-League. During the course of a season (from February to October) each club plays the others four times (a quadruple round-robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents per competition, for a total of 36 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. The Kaimu begins in Febraury and ends in May, while the Bimu begins in August and ends in November. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The winner of each competition competes in the Atian Cup, a two-legged series to determine the national champion. If a club wins both the Kaimu and Bimu, the runners-up play in a single play-off to determine the other finalist.
|Atia United||Whidbey|| Whidbey Stadium|
|Whidbey Wanderers||Whidbey|| Whidbey Stadium|