New Zealand Football have today confirmed the draw, and a new name, for the country’s top-tier men’s football competition.
The 2020/2021 competition will now be known as the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership (formerly the ISPS Handa Premiership), mirroring the naming convention of the previously announced ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership (formerly the National Women’s League).
The league will also be one of the few national football competitions in the world to allow fans to attend when it begins on November 14.
“We know globally these are hugely challenging times for sport so we are delighted to finally be in a position to announce the draw for the 2020/2021 season,” said Daniel Farrow, General Manager of Football for New Zealand Football.
“There has been a significant amount of work done by our clubs and federations to get to this point. I know everyone is hugely excited about getting a new campaign underway and celebrating the fact we have a national men’s football competition happening this year.”
The ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership will consist of a double round-robin league, followed by a semi-final and grand final. The 14-round season will run from November 14 with the grand final scheduled for March 14, 2021. Fixtures are subject to change should dates be confirmed for the next instalment of the OFC Champions League.
For this season, Tasman United and Southern United will join with Canterbury United Dragons to form a united South Island team, under the Canterbury United Dragons banner. Reigning champions Auckland City FC, Waitakere United, Eastern Suburbs, Hamilton Wanderers, Hawke’s Bay United, Team Wellington and Wellington Phoenix FC will make up the remaining clubs in the eight-team competition.
Fixtures can be read here.
Women’s national league
Meanwhile, the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will be contested by the Northern Lights, Auckland Football, WaiBOP, Central Football, Capital Football, Canterbury United Pride and Southern United.
This ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership is likely to have the highest number of players capped by the Football Ferns and New Zealand age-group teams in recent years, as attention shifts to selection for next year’s Olympic Games and preparation for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The opening round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will be played the weekend of October 31-November 1.
It will begin with 2019 champions Canterbury United Pride traveling to their neighbours Southern United in Dunedin for an early battle for South Island pride on Saturday. Sunday sees Capital Football venture to Auckland’s North Shore in a bid to dim the Northern Lights’ title challenge early, and Auckland Football will host Central Football, while WaiBOP have the first bye.
The 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will take a single round-robin format. First and second will contest the grand final on the weekend of December 19-20.
Full fixtures can be found here.
The draw has also been released for the eleventh Men’s Futsal SuperLeague, New Zealand’s national men’s futsal competition.
The Futsal SuperLeague will see sides from across the country compete over three weekend series rounds: the Southern Series at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington from October 31 to November 1, the Northern Series at The Peak in Hamilton from November 7-8, and the National Series at the Pulman Arena in Auckland from November 20-22.
The competition is made up of eight teams, including the Northern Comets, Auckland City FC, Bay of Plenty Surge, Waikato Rapids, Central Futsal, Capital Futsal, Canterbury United Futsal Dragons and Southern United Futsal.
The competition also sees the introduction of Auckland City FC, representing the Auckland Football Federation; the Waikato Rapids are the defending champions.
View the Futsal SuperLeague 2020 draw here.
Courtesy of New Zealand Football