The New Zealand Football released very important news regarding the next season of the New Zealand top-tier league – ISPS Handa Premiership. After to be forced to finish the league before as previously scheduled due COVID-19 pandemic, the NZF stated everything is clear for the new season that is set to restart in mid-November – but, very important changes are noticed in the press released for the upcoming season.
“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. The team will play home games in Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson,” said the NZF, “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,” completed the entity. So, the next season will have only 8 teams as no new franchises will take the spot left by Tasman and Southern.
“We also want to acknowledge the contribution that the players, coaches and staff at Tasman United and Southern United have made to the competition. I’m sure it was a difficult decision for them not to take part this year but sustainability of football in this country in the long term has to be the priority. I look forward to seeing them again in future seasons,” said Paula Walker Chair of National League (Mens) Stakeholder Group.
The governing body also informed that “the Men’s Futsal SuperLeague will run 31 October – 22 November across three weekends […]” and the National Women’s League “[…] will run from the weekend of 31 October and feature teams representing each of the seven football federations“.