Clubs received a huge incentive to clean up in the National Premier Leagues 2014 Final Series with the champion securing automatic entry into next year’s FFA Cup Round of 32.
Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop made the announcement on Monday as gaming giant, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, was unveiled as a major backer of the NPL.
PlayStation 4 has become the inaugural official naming rights partner of the leagues until at least the end of the 2017 finals series.
Gallop said the automatic qualification spot was a “fantastic motivator for clubs on top of the already distinguished achievement of being crowned the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Champions.
“The Westfield FFA Cup has been a tremendous success capturing the imagination of everyone in the Australian football community and to now have it relevant to the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series provides yet another connection between the grassroots and professional tiers.”
The knockout finals series was launched for the first time last year with clubs from Capital Football, Football NSW, Football Queensland, Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) and Football Federation Tasmania competing taking part.
In the 2014 the PlayStation 4 NPL Finals Series eight teams will feature with the addition of clubs from Northern NSW Football, Football Federation Victoria (FFV) and Football West.
Clubs qualify as the premiers of each Member Federation’s respective NPL competition.
The eight clubs to make it through to the 2014 version are Cooma Tigers (Capital Football), Weston Workers (Northern NSW Football), Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Football NSW), Palm Beach Sharks (Football Queensland), MetroStars SC (FFSA), South Hobart (Football Federation Tasmania), South Melbourne (FFV) and Bayswater City (Football West).
Meanwhile, Gallop said he was delighted to see a blue chip company such as Sony continuing to invest in the growth of football.
He said the partnership reaffirmed “the attraction of the National Premier Leagues and its position in the Australian football landscape.
“We are thrilled to have PlayStation join the FFA corporate family and their vision and commitment to align themselves with a competition that only originated last year speaks volumes in what is certain to be beneficial and rewarding for both parties.”
Michael Ephraim, Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia joined Gallop for the launch and expressed his excitement at PlayStation’s affiliation with the National Premier Leagues.
“At PlayStation, everything we do is for the players," Ephraim said.
"People love to play football for many of the same reasons they play video games – for fun, to be challenged, for the competition and to be social. This new partnership unites the passion of our fans with the passion of the National Premier Leagues communities and will help drive the continued growth of football in Australia,” Ephraim said.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2014 Finals Series
Saturday September 20, 2014
Weston Workers (Northern NSW Football) v Palm Beach Sharks (Football Queensland)
Rockwell Automation Park, Weston
Cooma Tigers (Capital Football) v Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Football NSW)
AIS Athletics Field, Bruce
South Hobart (Football Federation Tasmania) v South Melbourne (Football Federation Victoria)
Wellesley Park, South Hobart
Bayswater City (Football West) v MetroStars SC (Football Federation South Australia)
Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater
Kick-off: 2pm (AEST 4pm)
27/28 September 2014
Winner of Game 1 v Winner of Game 2
Winner of Game 3 v Winner of Game
4/5 October 2014
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2014 Grand Final
Winner of Game 5 v Winner of Game 6