Radical revamp of National Youth League

A massive overhaul of the National Youth League will see the competition played over two conferences with the winner of each to face off in a Grand Final in January.

The new abbreviated format is aimed at slashing travel and focusing future youth development on the NPL.

The format also includes one A-League curtain raiser and six W-League double-headers.

Football Federation Australia confirmed the radical restructure on Wednesday along with the release of the 2015/16 draw which will see teams play just eight NYL regular matches.

The 10 clubs will be divided into Conference A (Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar FC, Melbourne City FC, Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory) and Conference B (Central Coast Mariners, FFA Centre of Excellence, Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers FC) - the latter clearly benefiting the most from reduced travel commitments.

Within each conference, the teams will play each other twice over 10 rounds (four home / four away – eight matches and two byes per team).

The new format complements the clubs’ NPL calendar and will see youth players with up to 40 weeks of competitive football each year (excluding A-League, the FFA Cup, NYL Grand Final and friendlies).

A-League boss Damien de Bohun said the overhaul was the result of years of development and included feedback from stakeholders such as A-League clubs, Member Federations and FFA’s National Performance and Technical Department.

De Bohun said: “Throughout this consultation process a number of issues were identified regarding the current structure of the competition and its important role of player development.

“The participation of Foxtel National Youth League teams in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) was seen as providing Hyundai A-League Clubs with a more effective youth development framework, without the extensive travel requirements that were deemed to be counterproductive to youth development.

“Taking all this into consideration, it was timely to consider changes to the Foxtel National Youth League competition for the 2015/16 Season onwards.”

De Bohun said the revamp “falls perfectly in line with the goals of the National Football Curriculum and also of our recently released Whole of Football Strategy Plan”.

FFA Technical Director, Eric Abrams, said the new NYL format will benefit to the players and clubs for years to come with the development of “quality footballers for the Hyundai A-League and the National teams”.

“From next season all nine Australian Hyundai A-League clubs will have their youth teams playing in the relevant National Premier League competitions over the winter months against men and then come together for an abbreviated National Youth League season,” Abrams said.

“It is an exciting step forward for football in Australia as our talented youth players will be able to take part in a coordinated “year-long” program in a consistent environment that will help develop better players.”

The NYL will start on the weekend of November 7-8, with the top team from each conference to meet in the 2016 Grand Final on the weekend of January 23/14.

Other key features of the Foxtel National Youth League 2015/16 Season Draw include:

 •            More favourable kick-off times for matches during summer months for majority of matches;

•             One Hyundai A-League Curtain-Raiser (15 Jan MBV v BNR prior to Hyundai A-League match between the same two teams at AAMI Park);

•             Six Westfield W-League Double-Headers