The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is the national second tier competition in Australia which underpins the A-League and Westfield W-League. The NPL operates in each Member Federation under a single national banner.
The NPL is a direct outcome of the National Competition Review (NCR) which aims to:
- Create greater consistency across the Member Federation top leagues across Australia;
- Recognise the role that State League clubs are playing to develop players, and showcase local talent;
- Raise overall standards in club management;
- Improve the financial and commercial position of state leagues and clubs.
To be eligible to participate in the NPL within each Member Federation, and in addition to sporting merit, clubs must meet uniform national criteria including:
- Total number of teams and age groups;
- Youth development practices, including the implementation of the National Curriculum;
- Coach accreditation criteria including the introduction of a Technical Director in each club;
- Organisational planning including finance, business planning and organisational structure;
- Greater oversight regarding the charging of player registration fees;
- Facility standards and improvement;
- Adoption of a player points system which incentivises clubs to develop players through their youth team structure as well as produce talent which progresses to national pathway programs and the Y-League, A-League, Westfield W-League and Football Australia National Teams.
Each Football Australia Member Federation will manage their local division of the NPL, which culminates in the NPL Finals Series at the end of each winter season involving the league premiers of each Member Federation's NPL division. Currently, this only applies to the Men’s NPL until such time until we are able to integrate all states/territories to adopt the Women’s NPL competition.
The NPL represents an important step in the realisation of Football Australia's strategic vision to make Australia a world class football nation and to better connect elite player development and the wider football community.