Football Federation Australia has reopened the door for Canberra to join the A-League, flagging an expansion to 16 teams as part of a complete nationwide revamp.
A 15-year vision for the future of Australian soccer was unveiled by the FFA on Thursday, featuring 11 proposed principles they hope will transform the game.
Those included the establishment of a domestic transfer system, reduction of playing costs, improving women's development pathways and the need for a clear football identity.
However, the eighth principle proposed the creation of a new model for Australia's professional leagues which aims to grow their status both domestically and on the international stage.
It suggests renaming the A-League and W-League, as well as moving their seasons to better align with grassroots soccer and the international calendar.
There is scope for a national second division, as well as growing the A-League to 16 teams in the next two expansion stages.
There are currently 12 teams, including expansion club Macarthur FC, in the A-League, meaning there's room for another four teams in the coming years.
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Canberra has been bidding for an A-League team for more than a decade. Bid leader Michael Caggiano previously told The Canberra Times the bid still has financial backing and they're ready to join if called upon.
The FFA wants the A-League to become one of the leading competitions in Asia, while they've got even higher hopes for the women's game.
The living document outlines a vision towards the W-League to being a 'top five' global league which rivals its counterparts in the United States and Europe.
FFA boss James Johnson says there's an opportunity to harness the leverage of the successful World Cup bid and increase investment in the competition.
"There's a big opportunity for the W-League to become a top five global league and that's where we should be aiming," Johnson said.
"At the moment you've got those big European clubs that have smelt the opportunity, they're investing heavily in women's football and so you're starting to see the movement of players.
"We're starting to see our best players go to the Super League, and there's even a drain out of the National Women's Soccer League [NWSL] to England because they have the ability to buy players.
"But still, if you want to be a top five league it's affordable. It's affordable now and it's an opportunity.
"I think players would love to come to Australia because we're a fantastic country and have the Women's World Cup.
"There's a real opportunity for us to be one of the best leagues in the world and we're going to talk to clubs because they have to invest."
One of the more immediate changes that could arise from the proposal is a review of the National Premier League and W-League, so there's a clear development pathway from grassroots to the elite level.
That includes aligning the league with the second-tier competition, a move already in motion with the 2020-21 A-League and W-League seasons moving to a December to June timeslot.
Johnson said it was crucial that the state-based NPLW competitions continued to provide game time to W-League players outside the season, with the XI Principles emphasising their respective seasons should not coincide.
The FFA XI Principles document also included a vision for a future Women's FFA Cup.
"We want our players to play more, and there's an opportunity to play in the NPLW, there's an opportunity to play in the W-League and then for the very top players they can go on and play in other competitions around the world," Johnson said.
"How do we create contracts that allow for this? How do we create window alignment - the movement of players in windows - how do we fit the season in as it relates to what's below the W-League and what's above it? That's a big part of this discussion."
- with AAP