‘A transformative step’: Football Australia reveals foundation clubs for National Second Tier

    After applications from around Australia, eight teams from just two states, NSW and Victoria, including one-time A-League hopefuls South Melbourne FC, have been named as the foundation clubs in the inaugural National Second Tier competition set to begin in 2025.

    Hailed as a “new era” for the game by Football Australia boss James Johnson, the competition will start as a home-and-away league featuring three teams from Melbourne,

    four from Sydney and one from Wollongong.

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    The teams came from a shortlist of 26, with clubs from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, who missed out on the initial inclusion, aiming to be among the extra two to four FA hopes to add to the competition before it begins.

    While the exact format of the competition is yet to be finalised, pending it being a 10 or 12-

    team competition, Johnson declared it would be a “a pivotal feature” of its next media rights deal that will begin in 2025.

    That deal will also include the 2027 Women’s World Cup, Matildas games, Socceroos games, and the Australia Cup.

    “The establishment of the NST is a transformative step for Australian football, aligning perfectly with our 15-year strategic vision outlined in the XI Principles,” Johnson said.

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    “It symbolises our commitment to reconnecting the football pyramid and enhancing the competitiveness of our national game.”

    The other clubs included as foundation members of the NST are Apia Leichhardt FC, Avondale FC, Marconi Stallions FC, Preston Lions FC, Sydney Olympic FC, Sydney United 58 FC and Wollongong Wolves FC.

    All of the clubs, except Avondale in Victoria, are former members of the A-League’s predecessor competition the National Soccer League.

    Johnson said the clubs were selected for their “readiness in terms of operational and commercial elements”, with a “refined application process” set to determine the final inclusions.

    The final number of teams will determine whether the initial season in 2025 is played as an 18-game or a 22-game season.

    While the NST will sit underneath the A-League, there are no immediate plans for a promotion and relegation between the two competitions.

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