Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) has announced changes to its Premier Competitions for men and youth from Season 2017. The Northern NSW division of the increasingly visible PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) and the second tier NEWFM First Division will expand to 11 clubs.
The changes are reflective of the recommendations which emanated from NNSWF’s comprehensive review of male premier competitions at the conclusion of 2015. An Assessment Panel reviewed applications from 22 clubs and subsequently made a series of recommendations which were endorsed by NNSWF’s Board of Directors on Wednesday 7 September.
The clubs which have been invited to compete in the PlayStation 4 NPL will be afforded a maximum three-year license agreement commencing in 2017. The expanded First Division will be rebranded as the NEWFM Northern League One. Clubs participating in this league will be offered annual participation agreements commencing in 2017. This approach will provide NNSWF with the opportunity to evaluate and subsequently lift the minimum requirements annually with a view to ensuring more League One clubs are compliant and ready to apply for an NPL License in 2020.
The nine clubs currently competing in the PlayStation 4 NPL NNSW competition have been granted licenses to continue participating into 2017. Lake Macquarie City FC has been added to the NPL in recognition of the club’s stellar performances in the First Division in 2016. The Newcastle Jets Youth and Emerging Jets will comprise the final spot.
‘Lake Macquarie City FC’s inclusion in the NPL is just reward for their outstanding performance in First Division in 2016, with the club securing the Premiership across in four grades and then winning both the 17s and 23s Grand Finals.’
‘NNSWF is confident that Lake Macquarie City’s well-established youth structure, which has been participating in the top divisions of the local Interdistrict Competition will facilitate the club’s seamless transition to the NPL,’ Eland concluded.
The NEWFM Northern League One will consist of 11 teams, with the addition of New Lambton FC to complement the remaining 10 clubs participating from 2016. In addition to the existing four grades League One clubs will be required to field a 15’s squad in 2017 to facilitate the establishment of a youth structure which is ultimately compliant with the NPL.
”These are significant steps, aimed at developing a clear pathway for clubs wishing to transition from the new League One into the National Premier League,” NNSWF Chief Executive Officer David Eland said.
“From 2017, clubs competing in League One will be challenged to lift their standards on and off the field to facilitate a seamless transition to a second division of the NPL from 2020 contested exclusively by clubs that meet the criteria,” Eland said.
Meanwhile the NPL Youth Competition from 2017 will also include NNSWF Member Zone based squads from North Coast Football and Northern Inland Football in 13’s through to 16’s years’ age divisions, making the Youth competition contested by a total of 14 clubs.
“Previously, this pathway has not been clear and the transition has presented clubs with significant barriers to entry when looking to move from the existing First Division competition to National Premier Leagues.”