Football Australia open Expressions of Interest process for National Second Tier

Adelaide

The establishment of a National Second Tier Men’s competition has gained significant traction today with Football Australia formally inviting all interested parties wishing to participate to respond to an Invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI).

The yet-to-be-named National Second Tier, which is earmarked to commence in March 2024, will be a new national tier of football between the A-League Men competition and the National Premier Leagues, with the opportunity for promotion and relegation to be considered once mature.

The EOI process will provide Football Australia with relevant information to assess the level of interest, and to refine the strategy, vision, competition format, operation, and administration of the National Second Tier.

Furthermore, the process is designed for Australian football clubs with a deep connection and demonstrated history in Australian football to participate in a tier of football that is anticipated to comprise of an individual league in a ‘home and away’ structure with the proposed competition parameters as follows:

  • A home and away league structure with finals, comprised of between 10 and 16 teams and featuring between 24 to 36 games
  • Successful Respondents to the Application Process would be required to depart their existing football competitions for the National Second Tier
  • National Second Tier Clubs will enter into a Club Participation Agreement setting out the terms of participation, including but not limited to the following requirements:
  • Professional playing contracts for all players, with salaries paid 52 weeks of the year;
  • ‘off field’ operations run by employed staff throughout 12 months of the year;
  • Investment in and operation of a full talent development pathway within their club structure;
  • and access to a suitable high-quality match day facility 12 months of the year.

Should the level of interest not validate the required number of Clubs with the capability to formulate an independent tier of competition, the option remains for Football Australia to institute a phased ‘group based’ competition model that will utilise the National Premier Leagues competition to determine the make-up of this format of competition (the ‘Champions League’ model).

The Invitation for EOI is the first phase of what is envisaged will be a multistage process, with this phase opening today and closing on March 3, 2023.

At the conclusion of the EOI stage of the process, Football Australia intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to shortlisted parties inviting the submission of detailed proposals. Additional information through detailed Bid Documents will be provided to shortlisted parties during the RFP phase to assist with their formal detailed proposal.

This information during the RFP phase may include an information memorandum, NST related data, including financial forecasts and benchmarking, key terms of a Club Participation Agreement, and draft transaction documents.

The following subsequent phases are envisaged:  Phase 2 – Request for Proposal (April – June indicative), Phase 3 – Assessment and Recommendation (June – August indicative), Phase 4 – Completion (August – September indicative). Further information on these remaining phases will be outlined at a future date.

There will be an interactive process to assist both shortlisted bidders and Football Australia to aid the development of high quality, well considered proposals and further refining the overall vision of the NST. This structured process will occur following the release of the RFP.

More information and links to respond to the Expression of Interest invitation can be found at https://www.footballaustralia.com.au/nst-application-process.

Numerous clubs touted to be involved in the National Second Tier celebrated the announcement, including the Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne FC. The Association of Australian Football Clubs – an organisation representing National Premier Leagues clubs aspiring to join the National Second Tier who has been essential to driving the momentum towards the founding of a National Second Division – acknowledged the significance of the announcement via Twitter, expressing:

“AAFC welcomes this exciting development we’ve all been awaiting with great hope and expectation,” the statement read.

“Having advocated for, and led the discussion on our new, proper second tier, we thank FA for adopting and pursuing this most important reform.

“We will continue to work with FA and our clubs for its successful implementation for kick off in 2024.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson outlined many potential respondents had already expressed their interest through a consultation phase across Australia in 2022, and more could emerge during the process.

“Developing a national second tier competition is a key component of our 15-year vision for the game and our efforts to reconnect and realign Australian football competitions. Australian football has gone on a journey of transformation over the last two years and this is the latest example of us bringing our vision for the game to life,” he said via media release.

“In 2022, we did extensive financial and competition modelling followed by a series of consultations with clubs and other stakeholders across the game.  We know from this process that there is a lot of interest in a national second tier so we expect that we will receive a strong number of responses in this first EOI phase.

“Some of these clubs have a rich history in Australian football and aspire to grow and compete at a national level. The national second tier will now provide a platform for these aspirational clubs and to be a part of a connected football pyramid in the long term.

“With football booming in Asia, our national teams competing strongly on the world stage and as the largest team participation base in Australian sport, this is the right time to create a national second tier.

“We look forward to the process we have now launched and working collaboratively with all stakeholders and interested parties in building a successful National Second Tier and kicking the league off as early as March 2024.”

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

Melbourne City proudly unveil their state-of-the-art-facilities

Melbourne City have proudly showcased their clubs latest project through the unveiling of their new state-of-the-art-facility, located at Casey Fields in Cranbourne.

The City Football Academy Melbourne continues to push the already established high-standards in which football across Australia are beginning to reach. The facility will host the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the club’s grassroot program, and an administration office is also involved in the newly developed location.

The Melbourne based club were inspired by their British parent and European juggernauts Manchester City have some of, if not the best facilities in world football. Melbourne City’s latest facility was developed in accordance to the structure and framework relating to Manchester City.

Within the newly furnished building, it’s features are acknowledged to stand out amongst other rival A-League entity’s. A 60-seat theatre and community classroom was installed to host club officials and guests, 16 changerooms combined with Hydrotherapy pools and two gyms, all designed to propel their playing personnel in achieving their peak athletic condition. Administration spaces where also created for Sports Science, Sports Medicine and club officials to all reside in.

The official opening took place on April 10 by City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM, and Melbourne City FC Vice Chairman Simon Pearce.


Located at the Casey Fields Sporting precinct in which is building quite the resume within the tenants it has acquired in various codes of sport across the state. The 5,900m2 facility that City now possess in their arsenal sits on eleven hectares of land, upon it they have five different football pitches, with varying surfaces.

The opportunities in which this facility presents to football fans and participants alike, are in abundance, 3,500 aspiring young football participants will be able to use the facilities on offer, with many more able to spectate City matches in which may be played at their Academy.

Melbourne City FC CEO Brad Rowse stated via press release:

“This amazing facility will be the new home to our Men’s, Women’s, Academy, and Administration teams, and will allow us to come together under the one roof to train, share ideas and challenge each other every single day.

“We’re setting new standards for football in Australia and laying the foundations for sustainable growth, on and off the pitch.”

With the latest edition of the McDonald’s City Cup being played at the newly launched facility, the tournament was a token showcasing that the clubs elite are not the only ones who will benefit from the facility but also local footballing communities in addition.

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