National Premier Leagues
|File:National Premier Leagues logo.png|
|Number of teams||90 clubs (from 8 divisions)|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Domestic cup(s)||FFA Cup|
|Current champions||Blacktown City
|Most championships||Sydney United 58
North Eastern MetroStars
Blacktown City (1 title)
|2016 National Premier Leagues|
The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national association football (soccer) 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 Federation Australia (FFA), 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.
In October 2010, Football Federation Australia (FFA) commenced a National Competition Review, its main objective being to review the current structure of football competitions in Australia, and to monitor and improve elite player development. 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.
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. 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. FFA also announced their intentions of a promotion and relegation structure between the first tier A-League and second tier National Premier League from 2022.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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 and not the winner of the various state-based finals series.
NPL Finals Series
The winners of each respective divisional league then competes in a finals playoff tournament at the end of the season. The finals are all single match knock out matches based on geographically close divisions.
The finals series draw is predetermined and doesn't change between seasons. Quarter finals hosting alternates each year between each division. The semi finals and final match hosts are determined by a formula based on the phase the previous NPL finals match is won (i.e. full-time, extra time, or penalties) and the goals for and against.
The finals series culminates in a Grand Final, where the winner is crowned National Premier Leagues Champions. Since the 2014 season, the NPL Champion has also qualified for the following years FFA Cup round of 32.
Promotion and relegation
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 way for a team to be promoted to the first tier of Australian Football, the A-League. The table below details the number of teams relegated automatically at the end of the season and the number of teams which go into a relegation playoff against a lower league team.
|NPL Division||Number of Clubs|
|Automatic Relegation||Relegation Playoffs|
Current clubs (2016)
Below are listed the National Premier Leagues clubs in each respective state member federation from the 2016 season. In total there have been 90 National Premier Leagues clubs. Some NPL divisions involve promotion and relegation to leagues below the NPL and so participating clubs change annually.
NPL Finals Series
|2013||Sydney United 58||2–0||South Hobart||KGV Park||1,150|
|2014||North Eastern MetroStars||1–0||Bonnyrigg White Eagles||Lambert Park|
|2015||Blacktown City||3–1||Bayswater City||Dorrien Gardens|
Clubs reaching the finals
|Sydney United 58||1 (2013)||—||—||—||1|
|North Eastern MetroStars||1 (2014)||—||—||—||1|
|Blacktown City||1 (2015)||—||—||—||1|
|South Hobart||—||1 (2013)||—||1 (2014)||2|
|Bayswater City||—||1 (2015)||—||1 (2014)||2|
|Bonnyrigg White Eagles||—||1 (2014)||—||—||1|
|South Melbourne||—||—||1 (2014)||1 (2015)||2|
|Campbelltown City||—||—||1 (2013)||—||1|
|Palm Beach||—||—||1 (2014)||—||1|
|Moreton Bay United||—||—||1 (2015)||—||1|
|Canberra||—||—||—||2 (2013, 2015)||2|
|Weston Workers||—||—||—||1 (2014)||1|
|West Adelaide||—||—||—||1 (2015)||1|
League winners from each member federation
|Season||Australian Capital Territory||New South Wales||Northern New South Wales||Queensland||South Australia||Tasmania||Victoria||Western Australia|
|2013||Canberra||Sydney United 58||-||Olympic||MetroStars 1||South Hobart||-||-|
|2014||Cooma||Bonnyrigg White Eagles||Newcastle Jets Youth 1||Palm Beach||MetroStars||South Hobart||South Melbourne||Bayswater City|
|2015||Canberra||Blacktown City||Edgeworth||Moreton Bay United||West Adelaide||Olympia Warriors||South Melbourne||Bayswater City|
1 Club won its league but did not proceed to the NPL Finals series.
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