Local media confirmed in the last couple of days that the 2021 Papua New Guinea National Soccer League will consist of two conferences of seven teams each, a swerve from the originally-planned 10-team single division.
The decision comes following recent news that Central United FC – rebranded under the name of Central Dabari FC – had made a late bid to enter the competition, and after the number of clubs that had expressed interest amounted to more than ten.
Each conference will also see a development side take part, with the Northern Development Team taking part in the Northern Conference, and the Southern Development Team taking part in the Southern Conference.
A total of seven teams will be returning after the 2019–20 edition, including six-time reigning champions Lae City FC, eight-time champions Hekari United, as well as Morobe United, Morobe Wawens, Tusbab Stallions, Gulf Komara, and Star Mountain.
Peter-Gunemba-led phoenix side Lae City Dwellers are one of the new sides, while Tavur FC and Sepik FC are returning following lengthy absences. The final side taking part is Port Moresby Strikers, which appears to be the new name of the Southern Strikers side that took part in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the competition.
The two conferences will be made up of the following teams:
Northern Conference: Sepik, Tusbab Stallions, Lae City, Lae City Dwellers, Morobe Wawens, Morobe United and Northern Development Team
Southern Conference: Port Moresby Strikers, Hekari United, Star Mountain, Gulf Komara, Central Dabaris, Tavur and Southern Development Team
The season is due to start on July 17.