Football NSW has announced several changes to National Premier Leagues competitions for this season to support Australia’s youth football teams ahead of several important international competitions.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC will move from NPL 2 NSW to NPL 1 NSW, while Newcastle Jets FC will transition from NPL 4 NSW to NPL 2 NSW.
Age restrictions for the Hyundai A-League Clubs that compete in NPL for this season have also been relaxed to allow players born after 1 January 1997 (U23) to be registered in accordance with the relevant Regulations. All changes are for this season only.
Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge recognised the importance of supporting national team programs and players and paid tribute to the NPL Clubs for their support of the changes.
“We all have a collective responsibility to give our national team programs and players the best opportunity to be successful. COVID-19 has resulted in diminished opportunities for these players and we are proud to play our part in providing opportunities to gain valuable match time.
“I want to thank our NPL clubs for supporting these initiatives. Without their support this would not be possible. The NPL clubs have been outstanding in committing to playing a season through these challenging times and in their support of these changes to assist our national teams.”
Olyroos coach Graham Arnold thanked Football NSW and its clubs for their forward thinking approach towards the game.
“We are exceptionally grateful to Football NSW and the NPL NSW clubs for taking this decision, which is in the best interests of a raft of ambitious young footballers and Australian football broadly.”
“The steps taken by Football NSW and the clubs will enable young players who have had minimal to no match minutes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to play at the best possible level ahead of crucial upcoming national team competitions.
“This unified action taken by FFA, Football NSW and the NPL NSW clubs can have a profound impact on the careers of many young players and the future of our men’s national teams,” he said.