Football Australia has announced the commencement of the next phase in the application process for the National Second Tier (NST) competition.
In an effort to identify an additional two to four clubs to join the eight foundation clubs announced last November, Football Australia is extending an invitation to clubs, which previously submitted an NST Expression of Interest (EOI) in 2023, to engage in the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase.
This initiative is integral to the NST’s inception, with the league set to kick off its inaugural season in March/April 2025.
James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, articulated the significance of this phase: “Today marks another significant milestone in the evolution of the National Second Tier as we invite 24 clubs to engage in the Request for Proposal phase and potentially join the eight foundation clubs announced last year.”
The eight foundation clubs already confirmed are APIA Leichhardt FC, Avondale FC, Marconi Stallions FC, Preston Lions FC, South Melbourne FC, Sydney Olympic FC, Sydney United 58 FC, and Wollongong Wolves FC. These clubs were selected following a robust selection process consistent with the introduction of the NST RFP 2024 process. The RFP phase is a crucial step in ensuring clubs can demonstrate operational and commercial readiness, alignment with strategic objectives, and a commitment to developing talent and engaging communities.
“The RFP phase is a cornerstone in our journey towards a more dynamic and competitive National Second Tier as we look for clubs which will elevate the game, contribute to their communities, and embody the spirit of inclusivity and excellence,” added Johnson.
The selection process will be rigorous, and evaluate each club’s football development plans, community engagement strategies, financial stability, and overall contribution to Australian football.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for clubs to step into the spotlight and showcase their vision for not only contributing to the growth of the National Second Tier but also for shaping the future of football in Australia,” Johnson stated.
The conclusion of the RFP phase will lead to the final selection of clubs, further enriching the inaugural NST season. Depending on the final number of clubs, the season will feature either a 10-team or a 12- team home and away competition, followed by a competitive Finals Series.
“As we embark on this selection process, our goal is clear: to identify clubs that align with our strategic objectives and are ready to rise to the occasion. The clubs that join us in this journey will play a crucial role in enriching the tapestry of Australian football,” concluded Johnson.
Upon receiving the RFP materials and following a thorough briefing session, the clubs must confirm their intent to submit a proposal and will have until mid-April to finalise their submissions. This will mark the conclusion of the RFP phase, with the Assessment and Review Phase scheduled for April/May 2024, and the Completion Phase set for June 2024.
The remaining phases of the NST Application Process will be conducted confidentially, with Football Australia confirming that accounting and advisory experts, BDO, will continue to assist with the selection process.