Joondalup United have been granted a spot in the NPLWA after Football West agreed to expand the league following controversy after the club was initially denied promotion.
FourFourTwo reported last month that an expansion of the top flight appeared the best solution for all parties and now a deal has been struck.
The WA top tier will expand from 12 to 14 clubs after United were prevented from being promoted on legal grounds despite winning the State League One.
NPLWA bottom club Subiaco AFC claimed Joondalup hadn’t satisfied the required criteria, namely a suitable binding home ground contract, to force their demotion.
Football West initially bowed to the legal threat, but following a media and online campaign has agreed to allow United to be promoted.
Joondalup will be joined in NPLWA by State League One runners-up Mandurah City in a 26-round competition.
Joondalup United chairman Stephen Martin said he felt justice had been done.
“It goes without saying that we are ecstatic with the news that we will rightfully compete in the NPL next season,” he said.
“It’s been a roller coaster few weeks but we feel that the right decision has been made to promote JUFC.
“Now we have had confirmation we have to get straight back into planning for next season and look forward to the challenges ahead of us.”
FourFourTwo understands Football West was reluctant initially to expand the league due to the potential increased costs associated with four more rounds and how that may affect the other 11 clubs.
“To be fair to Football West, they have been brilliant throughout this debacle,” Martin said.
“We are so happy that they have worked hard to find a solution and that football is the winner in this decision.
“We thank Chief Executive Officer James Curtis and his board for their efforts.”
JUFC is delighted to announce that it will be part of the WA NPL in 2017. A great day for the club. https://t.co/wdeKu8oSER— Joondalup United (@JoondalupUnited) December 1, 2016
Football West said in a statement it would conduct a full review of the competition and acknowledged the challenges of the period leading to the decision reversal for all parties.
"At all times, Football West has sought to act with the best intentions and with the interests of the game at the core of its decision-making," the statement read.
"Football West will reassess NPL eligibility criteria and provide further clarity for clubs seeking promotion to the top tier beyond next season.
“The 2017 NPLWA will be a 26-week competition and the salary cap will remain at the 2016 level. The additional competition weeks will be absorbed through the modification of the 2017 Night Series.”