W-League, A-League set for simultaneous return date of December 27

play
Viduka: People running Australian football don't have a clue about the game (3:21)

Now living in Croatia, the former talismanic striker claims football's leadership in Australia has overseen a grave decline in talent development. (3:21)

The W-League and A-League are set for a simultaneous kickoff in 2020, multiple sources have told ESPN.

Set to be announced Thursday, ESPN understands that 2020-21 W-League season has been earmarked for a Dec. 27 start date -- the same day that the Sydney Morning Herald has reported the A-League season will commence -- and will retain the 14-round, nine-team structure of previous seasons.

Clubs, it is understood, see a simultaneous launch of both the A-League and W-League as carrying more weight than separate, standalone commencements of the leagues -- with the concurrent launches marking not a return of the A-League or W-League but, instead, a return to football.

- McManaman joins Melbourne Victory on free transfer
- Wanderers confirm surprise departure of De Marigny
- Menon: Why A-League's A-listers are moving to India

According to plans seen by ESPN, the W-League season would conclude by March 28 and, indicative of the changing demographics of the competition, there would be no FIFA breaks. Instead, there will be two scheduled breaks to allow players to fulfil Young Matildas duties; the first round of qualifiers for the 2022 AFC Under-20 Women's Asian Cup is due to take place in Shepparton in March.

Two congested rounds of 6-8 matches will also be staged in order to make up for the shortened time-frame that the campaign is set to take place in, which will once again conclude with a four-team finals series.

When it does commence, the 2020-21 W-League season will mark a series of firsts for the competition.

Notably, it will be the first season staged since the en masse migration of Matildas to competitions in Europe; preventing a significant cohort from returning to Australia to play in the local competition.

Defending champions Melbourne City, for example, currently have 10 players from their starting XI that downed Sydney FC in the 2019-20 Grand Final now attached to European clubs, with Japan international Yukari Kinga the lone exception.

Though the moves of Sam Kerr to Chelsea, Steph Catley to Arsenal or Ellie Carpenter to Lyon undoubtedly bodes well for the stakes of the national team in the future and likely improves the welfare of players by freeing them from the grind of continuous, gruelling back-to-back NWSL and W-League seasons, it has raised a number of questions surrounding the future direction of the competition.