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The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a football competition organized by the Australian National Federations

The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a football competition organized by the Australian National Federations, which is considered the second largest sport in the country below the A-League. The NPL consists of the highest Bundesliga in every state in Australia. Overall, the NPL is contested by clubs from eight divisions; These are ACT, NSW, Northern NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The NPL is overseen by Football Federation Australia (FFA) in collaboration with participating member associations of the states. It has been sponsored by PlayStation 4 since 2014 and is now officially known as PS4 National Premier Leagues.

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In October 2010, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) launched a national competition review whose main objective is to review the current structure of football competitions in Australia and to monitor and improve the development of elite players. Until May 2012, the results of the National Competition Review were published. Therein a proposal to re-brand and revive state competitions in Australia.

On February 13, 2013, the founding of the National Premier Leagues was announced. As a direct result of the national competition review, the league would rename the first league in each state under a single banner. Originally the Australian Premier League, but due to a violation of the naming rights of Lawn Bowls Australia, the original name was canceled and replaced by the National Premier League. The FFA also announced its intention to create a rise and fall as of 2022 between the A-League of the first and the second stage of the National Premier League.

The NPL's opening season began in March 2013. It involved teams from five of the nine state associations: Football Queensland, Football NSW, Football Federation South Australia, Football Federation Tasmania and Capital Football. The FFA member associations that did not join the NPL in 2013, Football West, Northern New South Wales Football and Football Federation Victoria entered the 2014 season. Football Federation Northern Territory is expected to adopt a sub-model at a later date. Although Victoria originally announced that its teams would start in 2014, a postponement was announced later in November 2013 after several clubs objected to the selection process. However, until December 2013, a decision was passed that Victorian teams participated in the 2014 season.

Competition format

NPL competitions in each state and territory are conducted by the member association. At the end of each season, there will be a national playoff tournament. Each member association or "conference" contains a different number of teams, and they play a full season without any cross-referenced games (a format identical to the individual leagues that preceded the NPL). The winner of each division will be determined at the end of regular time by the club in the first place of each conference table and not by the winner of the various national finals series.

NPL final series

After completing the regular home and away season, the winners of the respective Bundesliga compete in a final tournament against each other.

The final consists exclusively of individual games. Between 2013 and 2015, the match-ups were based on defined geographically-adjacent associations, with quarter-quartering rights alternating each year. From 2016, the match-ups will be determined by an open draw. The semi-finals and Grand Final organizers will be determined according to a formula based on the time of winning the previous NPL finals (normal time, extra time or penalty), goals scored and yellow / red cards allowed.

The finale series culminates in a grand finale, in which the winner is crowned the national champion of the Premier League. Since the 2014 season, the NPL champion has also qualified for the FFA Cup eighth finals of the following years.

Ascent and descent

Depending on the national association concerned, teams from the NPL may relegate to a third division league in the same state (and vice versa). However, there is currently no way for a team to be promoted to the premier league of Australian football in the A-League. The number of teams who have been promoted to and from third league leagues, depending on the state, has changed over the course of the NPL's existence. The following table shows the number of teams automatically relegated from the NPL at the end of the season and the number of NPL teams playing in a relegation playoff against a lower league team (if these teams meet additional eligibility criteria) capable of being promoted to the NPL).

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