NST Application Process

Football Australia has formally commenced its process to create a National Second Tier Men’s competition currently earmarked to commence in March/April 2025.

In February Football Australia invited all interested parties wishing to participate in the yet-to-be-named, National Second Tier, to respond to an Invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI).

The NST EOI Briefing Session was held virtually on Monday, 13 February.

The deadline to register to submit an EOI Response was Monday, 20 February at 5pm AEDT, and EOI submissions were due on Friday, 3 March at 5pm AEDT.

The EOI process provided 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.   

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 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 
  • A home and away league structure with finals, comprised of between 10 and 16 teams and featuring between 21 to 36 games
  • Successful Respondents to the Application Process would be required to depart their existing senior first-team 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 a prescribed minimum number of 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.

The Invitation for EOI is the first phase of a multistage process, with this phase opening 3 February and closing on 3 March 2023.

In June 2023, Football Australia issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the 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 Request for Proposal phase included a confidential, 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.

The RFP Phase concluded on 28 August and resulted in Football Australia receiving formal proposals from Respondents.

The Assessment and Review phase began immediately following the conclusion of the RFP phase. Proposals were reviewed and evaluated against the mandatory requirements and established evaluation criteria. This phase took place from August - October. At the conclusion of this phase, Football Australia announced that the NST would commence in March/April 2025.

Football Australia is currently undertaking Phase 4, the Completion Phase, in November 2023. Football Australia will provide the final results of the NST Application Process later in November 2023 via a press conference. This will include the selected clubs, as well as information regarding next steps and key milestones for the inaugural season.

This page will continue to be updated throughout the NST Application Process.