Australian football chiefs have culled two bids from the eight that were in the running to become the A-League's next expansion clubs.
Six bids remain under consideration by Football Federation Australia for a proposed expanded A-League in 2019-20.
But any decision on the two winning bids may not be made until next year, leaving a tight timeframe for new entities to prepare for the next A-League season.
After rejecting bids from Wollongong Wolves and Ipswich Pride FC, the FFA will ask the remaining six bidders to present to the new board of the peak body in November.
The remaining bidders are Southern Expansion (NSW), Macarthur South West Sydney (NSW), Western Melbourne (Victoria), Team 11 (Victoria), South Melbourne (Victoria) and Canberra (ACT).
FFA chief executive David Gallop said all potential newcomers still in contention require further work.
"We have six bids that all have positive aspects but require further work in certain areas," Gallop said.
"We need to continue our consultation with those bid teams to ensure that they adequately address these areas to ensure their future sustainability."
Suitable stadiums, finances and a "catchment area" of potential fans loomed large in the FFA's final decision.
"It is critical that FFA can be satisfied the successful bidders will be sustainable from day one, as well as meet a variety of commitments that will benefit the longer-term growth of the A-League," Gallop said.
FFA, supported by lead adviser Deloitte, would now work with remaining bidders to present at the next meeting of the governing body's board, to be held soon after the organisation's annual general meeting in November.
FFA chairman Steven Lowy will officially relinquish his post at the November meeting and a new board will be elected.
The board would then be tasked with evaluating the bids, which could take until next year.
"It is universally acknowledged that expansion of the A-League is an important next step forward," Gallop said.
"We know it will provide a shot in the arm for our game by providing more opportunities for young Australian footballers, bringing in new fans and engaging new communities."