Door open for Sydney United to join second-tier: FA

Racist behaviour by some Sydney United 58 fans won't prevent the club from entering Australian soccer's proposed second-tier competition.

Sydney United are among 32 outfits from all states and territories bar the Northern Territory to lodge expressions of interest to join the second-tier competition.

United's interest comes amid a controversial backdrop from its appearance in last October's Australia Cup final, which led to the NSW National Premier League club being hit with fines and other sanctions by Football Australia (FA).

Some United fans chanted songs with fascist links, booed during the Welcome To Country, and performed Nazi salutes during the 2-0 loss to A-League Men side Macarthur FC.

Eight fans of United, formerly known as Sydney Croatia, were evicted from the Cup final and FA later banned two men for life for performing fascist salutes.

FA also fined United $15,000 while other sanctions, including point deductions in the NPL competition and a ban from competing in the Australia Cup, were suspended.

Those penalties would be enforced if United failed to comply with FA requirements including ongoing volunteer work with Jewish communities and compulsory education to counter racism, discrimination and anti-Semitic hatred.

But FA chief executive James Johnson said United remained eligible to join the national second-tier competition and would, like other clubs, soon have their expressions of interest assessed.

"We wanted to make this process open to as many clubs as possible," Johnson told reporters on Tuesday.

"The door was never closed for Sydney United and we want to keep that door open.

"But having said that, we do have some challenges with the club mainly around the Australia Cup final last year which we're still working through with that club.

"We have got to work through that judicial process with the club, and the club need to understand that some of the behaviours that we saw at the Australia Cup final will not be welcome in the second tier.

"Now, does that exclude them from this competition? No, it doesn't.

"But it is a relevant factor."

The second-tier league is slated to start in March next year and feature 10 to 16 teams.

FA hierarchy will soon assess the 32 expressions of interest and create a short-list of contenders.

By June, short-listed clubs will be asked to submit detailed proposals including formal bid documents.