NZS: The Board of New Zealand Soccer has confirmed the successful applicants for the New National League competition, due to start in October 2004.

8 Licences have been granted to the following entities:

Otago United

Based in Dunedin at the Caledonian Ground. Otago United has the support of all clubs in the Soccersouth Federation, from South Canterbury to Southland.

Canterbury United

Based at English Park in Christchurch, Canterbury United has the support of all Mainland Soccer Federation clubs.

Team Wellington

Based at Newtown Park in Wellington, Team Wellington has the support of 18 clubs in the Capital Soccer Federation and strong council support to upgrade facilities at Newtown Park.

YoungHeart Manawatu

Based at Memorial Park in Palmerston North, Manawatu enjoys strong Council and regional support. Plans are already underway to upgrade Memorial Park, including television standard floodlighting.

Napier City

Based at Park Island in Napier. Park Island is already considered one of the more impressive `boutique’ grounds in New Zealand, with future plans to introduce floodlighting. Based largely on the successful Napier City Rovers club.

Waikato FC

Based at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton and enjoying the support of clubs in the Waikato region. An entrepreneurial bid with no financial burden on the clubs. Strong council support to maximise the community use of Waikato Stadium.

Auckland City

Based at Kiwitea St in Sandringham. Like Napier City, Auckland City is based on the previously successful Central United club. Substantial plans to upgrade Kiwitea St, including covered seating, is supported by the City Council.

Waitakere United

Based at the new The Trust Stadium in Henderson. A combined effort from 11 West Auckland clubs from Metro in Mt Albert to Norwest in the Kaipara. Includes former National League champions Waitakere and Bay Olympic (formerly Blockhouse Bay).

The competition will be played over a 3 round format, commencing in mid October 2004. The top 3 will qualify for the finals, with the winner going direct to the Grand Final at their home venue. The Grand Final winner will represent New Zealand in the lucrative FIFA World Club Championships Oceania Qualifying Series in Tahiti April 2005. The winner of this tournament will represent Oceania at the FIFA World Club Championships in December 2005. The draw and further details will be published in the coming weeks.

In making their decision, the Board of New Zealand Soccer considered 11 applications before deciding on the final 8. Chairman John Morris described the process as exhaustive. “The information the selection panel presented was extremely detailed, hence the delay in announcing our decision. This is a once only opportunity to put a stake in the ground and produce a National League competition to meet New Zealand Soccer’s objectives on and off the park. My first comment is to thank all who have contributed to this process in all 11 applications. We have made 8 organisations happy with today’s news but equally 3 will feel deflated. It is our wish that they continue to devote time and energy to the game in their regions. To borrow a phrase from FIFA however, this is about the “Good of the Game” and the Board decided on 8 teams as being ideal for the next 3 years, in particular from a playin

The new competition will address a number of key areas.

Playing standards

Coaching standards

Facilities – for participants and spectators


Financial viability

Geographical playing depth

New Zealand Soccer CEO Bill MacGowan, who was on the review panel, was impressed by the applications received.

“It is clear that the review of the competition has sparked a great deal of thought and debate across New Zealand. Previously divided regions have come together in order to promote the code and ensure National League opportunities in their cities and towns.

It has also been refreshing to see local council support with investment in facilities identified as a crucial area with regards playing standards, spectator comfort and media coverage.

Quite simply the bar had to be raised and under the old format individual clubs couldn’t carry that burden alone – our National League history is littered with financial disasters and as a national body we weren’t prepared for that to continue. We were also concerned with addressing player strength and depth in geographical sense.”

3 applications were not granted Licences by the Board of New Zealand Soccer, they are:

Ole Madrids (Wellington)

Team Bay of Plenty

East Auckland FC