Football Australia has formally begun the process of creating a second-tier men's competition with a potential start date in March 2024.
The competition will act as a new tier between the A-League Men and National Premier League. Promotion and relegation between the A-League and the new competition will be considered once the structure matures, the governing body said in a statement.
The competition will feature 10 to 16 teams and operate on a home-and-away format with finals.
The governing body has invited interested parties to respond to an invitation for Expression of Interest.
"Developing a national second-tier competition is a key component of our 15-year vision for the game and our efforts to reconnect and realign Australian football competitions," Football Australia CEO James Johnson said in the statement.
Johnson revealed to ESPN in September 2022 that Football Australia would "forge ahead with the commencement of a formal expression of interest process that will identify the competition's inaugural clubs by mid-2023".
"So, our people right now are preparing EOI documents that will include what sort of standards the clubs will need to meet; whether it be stadia, financial, governance, in order to meet the standards that we would require to participate in that competition," Johnson said in that exclusive interview.
"We're moving into that next stage and we would expect the EOI to be set up and finalised by the middle of 2023.
"By that point, we will know who will be in the second tier and who will participate in the first edition of the second tier by the middle of 2023.
"We're very excited, it's going to happen."
- Information from Reuters was used in this report