THE format for the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League premier division competition has been changed to make it tougher with the introduction of the automatic promotion-relegation this season.
The premier division teams on Viti Levu will now play in the home and away series which will be held over 12 weeks.
The Viti Levu zone competition will have Northland Tailevu, which was formerly known as Tailevu North, Tavua, Nasinu, Lami, Tailevu Naitasiri, Rakiraki and Vatukoula.
Fiji Football Association competitions manager Amitesh Pal said the teams would play more matches in the new format.
Pal said the aim was to lift the intensity of the competition at the tier two level.
"These teams are in the run to gain automatic entry to the top flight," he said.
"So the teams will have to be on par with the fitness level and the game pattern required to step up.
"With the new format, they will get more game time.
"It will also involve a lot of travelling."
The Viti Levu zone competition is set to kick off this weekend. In the opening round, Rakiraki will host Vatukoula at the Ra Sports Complex, Northland Tailevu will play Nasinu at Gatward Park while Lami will take on Tailevu Naitasiri at either Bidesi Park or Buckhurst Park.
Meanwhile, the Vanua Levu zone competition will kick off on March 8.
Savusavu, Bua, Seaqaqa, Nadogo, Dreketi and Taveuni will be part of the competition.
Because of logistics, the competition will be played at different venues in five rounds.
The first round will be hosted by Seaqaqa at Seaqaqa Muslim Primary School; the second round will be hosted by Dreketi at Muanidevo Primary School; the third round will be hosted by Bua at either Muanidevo Primary School or Subrail Park; the fourth round will be hosted by Nadogo at Nadogo Central College and Savusavu will host the final round at Ganilau Park.
A total of 30 matches will be played.
Dreketi is the defending champions.