National Premier Leagues

The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national association football competition in Australia which acts as the second tier of the sport in the country below the A-League. The NPL consists of the highest level state league in each state-based federation within Australia. In total the NPL is contested by clubs from eight divisions; these are ACT, NSW, Northern NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The NPL is overseen by Football Australia, in partnership with participating state-based member federations. Since 2014 it has been sponsored by PlayStation 4 and thus officially known as the PS4 National Premier Leagues.[1]

National Premier Leagues
National Premier Leagues logo.png
Founded2013
CountryAustralia
ConfederationAFC
DivisionsACT
NSW
Northern NSW
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia
Number of teams90 clubs (from 8 divisions)
Level on pyramid2
Domestic cup(s)FFA Cup
Current championsWollongong Wolves (2019)
Most championshipsSydney United 58 (2 titles)
Websitenationalpremierleagues.com.au
Current: 2021 National Premier Leagues

HistoryEdit

In October 2010, Football Federation Australia (FFA) commenced a National Competition Review, its main objective being to review the current structure of soccer competitions in Australia, and to monitor and improve elite player development.[2] By May 2012 the results of the National Competition Review were released. In it, a proposal to re-brand and revitalise state-based competitions in Australia.[3]

On 13 February 2013, the establishment of the National Premier Leagues was announced. As a direct outcome of the National Competition Review, the league would rebrand the premier league in each state under a single banner.[4] Originally named Australian Premier League but due to a violation of naming rights held by Lawn Bowls Australia the original name was scrapped and replaced with National Premier Leagues.[5]

The inaugural season of the NPL began in March 2013. It included teams from five of the nine state-based federations: Football Queensland, Football NSW, Football Federation South Australia, Football Federation Tasmania, and Capital Football.[4] The FFA member federations that did not join the NPL in 2013, Football West, Northern New South Wales Football and Football Federation Victoria joined in the 2014 season, with Football Federation Northern Territory expected to adopt a partial model at some time in the future.[6][7] Although Victoria initially announced their teams would enter in 2014, a deferral was later announced in November 2013, after several clubs objected to the process for selecting teams. However, by December 2013, a resolution was reached whereby Victorian teams participated in the 2014 season.[8][9]

FFA announced their intentions of a promotion and relegation structure between the first tier A-League and second tier working title Australian Championship from late 2022.[10]

The finals series for the 2020 competition was cancelled on 3 July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.[11]

Competition formatEdit

The NPL competitions in each state and territory are run by the member federation, with a national playoff tournament at the end of each season.[4] Each member federation, or 'conference' contains various numbers of teams, and they play a full season with no inter-conference matches (an identical format to the individual State Leagues that preceded the NPL). The winner of each division is determined by the club in first position of each conference table at the end of the regular season, rather than the winner of the various state-based finals series.

NPL Finals SeriesEdit

At the completion of the regular home and away season, the winners of each respective Federation league compete in a finals playoff tournament.

The finals are all single match knock out matches. Between 2013-2015 the match ups were based on predetermined geographically adjacent Federations, with hosting rights for the quarter-finals alternating each year. From 2016 the match ups are determined by an open draw.[12] The hosts for the semi-finals and Grand Final are determined by a formula based on the time of winning of the previous NPL Finals matches (normal time, extra time or penalties), goals scored and allowed, and yellow/red cards.

The finals series culminates in a Grand Final, where the winner is crowned National Premier Leagues Champions.[13] Since the 2014 season, the NPL Champion has also qualified for the following years' FFA Cup round of 32.

Promotion and relegationEdit

Depending on the State Federation in charge, teams may be relegated from the NPL to a third-tier league in the same state (and vice versa), but there is currently no mechanism for a team to be promoted to the first tier of Australian Football, the A-League. The number of teams promoted and relegated from third-tier leagues per state has varied over the existence of the NPL. The table below details the number of teams relegated automatically from the NPL at the end of the season and the number of NPL teams which go into a relegation playoff against a lower league team (subject to those lower league teams meeting additional eligibility criteria to be able to be promoted to the NPL).

Federation Number of Clubs
Automatic
Relegation
Relegation
Playoffs
ACT none a
NSW none a
Northern NSW none
Queensland 2 b 0
SA 2 0
Tasmania none c
Victoria 2 0
WA none a

Notes:

Current clubs (2021)Edit

 
A diagram showing the state member federations of FFA.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Map showing the location of teams in the National Premier Leagues.

Below are listed the National Premier Leagues clubs in each respective state member federation from the 2021 season.

In total, there are 94 clubs that compete in the top tier of the National Premier Leagues each season. Most NPL divisions involve promotion and relegation to leagues below the NPL and so participating clubs change annually.

ACT
Belconnen United
Canberra Croatia
Canberra Olympic
Cooma FC
Gungahlin United
Monaro Panthers
Tuggeranong United
West Canberra Wanderers
NSW
APIA Leichhardt Tigers
Blacktown City
Manly United
Marconi Stallions
Mt Druitt Town Rangers
Northbridge Bulls
Rockdale Ilinden
Sutherland Sharks
Sydney FC Youth
Sydney Olympic
Sydney United 58
Wollongong Wolves
Northern NSW
Adamstown Rosebud
Broadmeadow Magic
Charlestown Azzurri
Edgeworth Eagles
Lake Macquarie City
Lambton Jaffas
Maitland FC
Newcastle Olympic
Valentine
Weston Bears
Queensland
Brisbane Roar Youth
Brisbane Strikers
Capalaba FC
Eastern Suburbs
Gold Coast Knights
Gold Coast United
Lions FC
Logan Lightning
Magpies Crusaders United
Moreton Bay United
Olympic FC
Peninsula Power
Redlands United
Sunshine Coast Wanderers
South Australia
Adelaide Blue Eagles
Adelaide City
Adelaide Comets
Adelaide Olympic
Adelaide Raiders
Adelaide United Youth
Campbelltown City
Croydon Kings
Cumberland United
North Eastern MetroStars
Sturt Lions
South Adelaide Panthers
Tasmania
Clarence Zebras
Devonport City
Glenorchy Knights
Kingborough Lions United
Launceston City
Olympia
Riverside Olympic
South Hobart
Victoria
Altona Magic
Avondale FC
Bentleigh Greens
Dandenong City
Dandenong Thunder
Eastern Lions
Green Gully
Heidelberg United
Hume City
Melbourne Knights
Oakleigh Cannons
Port Melbourne
South Melbourne
St Albans Saints
Western Australia
Armadale
Balcatta
Bayswater City
Cockburn City
ECU Joondalup
Floreat Athena
Gwelup Croatia
Inglewood United
Perth Glory Youth
Perth SC
Rockingham City
Sorrento

HonoursEdit

NPL FinalsEdit

Season Champions Score Runners-up Venue Crowd Result in following FFA Cup
2013   Sydney United 58 2–0   South Hobart KGV Park 1,150 Round of 161
2014   North Eastern MetroStars 1–0   Bonnyrigg White Eagles Lambert Park - Round of 16
2015   Blacktown City 3–1   Bayswater City Dorrien Gardens - Quarter-finals
2016   Sydney United 58 4–1   Edgeworth FC Sydney United Sports Centre - Round of 16
2017   Heidelberg United 2–0   Brisbane Strikers Perry Park 1,105 Quarter-finals
2018   Campbelltown City 2–1   Lions FC Steve Woodcock Sports Centre 1,518 Round of 32
2019   Wollongong Wolves 4–3 (a.e.t.)   Lions FC Albert Butler Memorial Park 1,362 2
2020 Cancelled 2

Notes:

  • 1 For the 2014 FFA Cup, Sydney United 58 were not given an automatic FFA Cup berth, however they qualified via the FFA Cup qualifying rounds.
  • 2 The 2020 Finals Series and the 2020 FFA Cup were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Wollongong Wolves had already qualified for the 2020 FFA Cup prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so were given an automatic entry into the 2021 FFA Cup.[18]

Clubs reaching the finalsEdit

Team Champions Runners-up Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Finals
appearances
  Sydney United 58 2 (2013, 2016) 2
  Campbelltown City 1 (2018) 1 (2013) 1 (2019) 3
  Heidelberg United 1 (2017) 1 (2018) 1 (2019) 3
  Blacktown City 1 (2015) 1
  North Eastern MetroStars 1 (2014) 1
  Wollongong Wolves 1 (2019) 1
  Lions FC 2 (2018, 2019) 2
  Edgeworth 1 (2016) 1 (2017) 2 (2015, 2018) 4
  Brisbane Strikers 1 (2017) 1 (2016) 2
  Bayswater City 1 (2015) 2 (2014, 2017) 3
  South Hobart 1 (2013) 2 (2014, 2017) 3
  Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (2014) 1
  Perth SC 2 (2016, 2019) 1 (2018) 3
  South Melbourne 1 (2014) 1 (2015) 2
  APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (2017) 1
  Maitland 1 (2019) 1
  Moreton Bay United 1 (2015) 1
  Olympia 1 (2015) 1
  Olympic 1 (2013) 1
  Palm Beach 1 (2014) 1
  Sydney Olympic 1 (2018) 1
  Canberra 3 (2013, 2015, 2018) 3
  Canberra Olympic 3 (2016, 2017, 2019) 3
  Devonport City 3 (2016, 2018, 2019) 3
  Adelaide City 2 (2016, 2017) 2
  Bentleigh Greens 1 (2016) 1
  Cooma 1 (2014) 1
  West Adelaide 1 (2015) 1
  Weston Workers 1 (2014) 1

Federation Finalists by seasonEdit

Season ACT New South Wales Northern NSW Queensland South Australia Tasmania Victoria Western Australia
2013 Canberra FC Sydney United 58 1 Olympic FC Campbelltown City 2 South Hobart 1 1
2014 Cooma FC Bonnyrigg White Eagles Weston Workers 3 Palm Beach North Eastern MetroStars South Hobart South Melbourne Bayswater City
2015 Canberra FC Blacktown City Edgeworth FC Moreton Bay United West Adelaide Olympia Warriors South Melbourne Bayswater City
2016 Canberra Olympic Sydney United 58 Edgeworth FC Brisbane Strikers Adelaide City Devonport City Bentleigh Greens Perth SC
2017 Canberra Olympic APIA Leichhardt Tigers Edgeworth FC Brisbane Strikers Adelaide City South Hobart Heidelberg United Bayswater City
2018 Canberra FC Sydney Olympic Edgeworth FC Lions FC Campbelltown City Devonport City Heidelberg United Perth SC
2019 Canberra Olympic Wollongong Wolves Maitland FC Lions FC Campbelltown City Devonport City Heidelberg United Perth SC
2020 4 5 Rockdale City Suns Edgeworth FC Peninsula Power Adelaide Comets Devonport City 6 7

Notes

Performance by FederationEdit

Federation Best Performance Multiple Champions
Football NSW Champions (4) Sydney United 58 (2)
Football South Australia Champions (2)
Football Victoria Champions (1)
Football Queensland Runners-up (3)
Football Tasmania Runners-up (1)
Football West Runners-up (1)
Northern NSW Football Runners-up (1)
Capital Football Quarter Finalists (7)

Individual honoursEdit

The John Kosmina Medal is presented to the best played in the NPL final and is named in honour of former Australian international John Kosmina.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "PS4 new NPL naming rights partner". footballaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  2. ^ Siokos, Anthony (28 May 2012). "Analysis: Review gives FFA clear signal of how they must spread the love". Sport Business Insider. Sports Business Insider Group. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  3. ^ "FFA releases outcomes of National Competitions Review". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "FFA launches National Premier Leagues". Football Federation Australia. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Wolves could move into A-League under new changes". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Gallop aims for Aussie FA Cup". The Australian. AAP. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Second Division 'By 2022'?". Australian FourFourTwo. Sportal Australia. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  8. ^ "NPL update - message from FFV Board". Football Federation Victoria. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  9. ^ "National Premier Leagues confirmed for Victoria in 2014". Football Federation Australia. 6 December 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Australian Premier League Announced". sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Coronavirus forces FFA Cup to be cancelled". The World Game. SBS. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Matchups for 2016 Finals Series take shape". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  13. ^ "FFA unveils National Premier Leagues". Australian FourFourTwo. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  14. ^ "COMPETITION STRUCTURES IN 2020". Capital Football. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  15. ^ Mark Stavroulakis (1 July 2020). "FOOTBALL NSW ANNOUNCE RETURN OF 2020 NPL SENIOR COMPETITIONS". Football NSW. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Bayswater-Perth to kick off revamped season". Football West. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Competition Review Outcomes". www.footballfedtas.com.au. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  18. ^ Football Federation Australia (1 December 2020). "Stand-alone Final and AFC Champions League prize to headline rebooted FFA Cup in 2021".
  19. ^ "Grassroots football temporarily suspended". Football Federation Australia. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Competition Rules - National Premier Leagues WA" (PDF). Football West. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  21. ^ John Kosmina. "The NPL demonstrates its true value". Football Federation Australia.

External linksEdit