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New Zealand Football has confirmed the details and starting dates of its national competitions for the 2020/21 season.
The national men’s football league, the ISPS Handa Premiership will start in November, while the National Women’s League will commence from the weekend of October 31.
COVID-19 has also forced some structural changes to be made to both the men’s and women’s competitions.
In the ISPS Handa Premiership, the competition will feature eight club instead of the usual 10 teams. The South Island teams, Southern United, Tasman United and Canterbury United Dragons, will merge for the upcoming season. They will play under the Canterbury United Dragons name.
The competition will retain its usual format of a regular season with each team playing each other twice before a finals series including semi-finals and a grand final – the latter is expected to be held in March 2021.
Plans for a promotion and relegation framework have been postponed and will be reviewed before the 2021/22 season.
The National Women’s League will be played as a single round robin competition for this season. A grand final will be held on the weekend of December 19. The competition will feature all seven women’s teams.
“It has taken a lot of work with our clubs and federations to get to this stage but we are excited to now be able to confirm initial details of our national competitions for the upcoming season,” Daniel Farrow, General Manager of Football for New Zealand Football said in a statement.
“While Covid-19 and the knock-on effect of shifting community football dates has had an impact on the length of competitions and, in the case of the ISPS Handa Premiership, the number of teams able to take part, running men’s, women’s and futsal national league competitions this year was a key priority and we are very pleased to be able to make that happen.
“We also want to acknowledge the support of Sport NZ and our on-going partnership with Trillian Trust as key contributors to staging competitions this season.”
The 2019/20 ISPS Handa Premiership was called off early in March due to COVID-19. Auckland City, who were leading the competition at the time, were declared champions.
English Premier League club Southampton are one of Advanced’s clients, who present as a ticketing solution for venues.
In a time where Covid-19 has forced the need to introduce modified seating arrangements related to capacity when it is safe for fans to return, ticketing management has never been more important.
Advanced have created a range of software systems for a vast number of clients across many industries, where sports, venues and events are one of the categories under the umbrella.
Partnering up with an array of organisations, Advanced is all about making a positive impact on millions of people’s lives, with continual investment in people, partnerships and their own technologies, where they can then stay focussed on their markets’, customers’ and stakeholders’ needs.
Advanced allows customers to drive their efficiencies, savings and growth opportunities – using focused, right-first-time software solutions that can evolve depending on changing needs of their business and the markets they operate in.
Advanced prides itself on being the ultimate in-ticket management and e-commerce software solution for the UK and internationally within the sports industry. Southampton have already been in a a key partnership for a few years.
“Southampton Football Club (FC) has announced its decision to partner with Advanced and implement the new version of its innovative ticketing ecommerce solution, TALENT Sport, as part of a multi-year agreement,” they said at the time of agreement.
“Improving the overall fan experience when purchasing online, especially during periods of high demand, the solution will help to increase the club’s volume of online ticket sales through a fully mobile responsive site and intuitive online customer journey.
“Southampton FC will use fan data held within the solution to engage with fans online, targeting them with relevant promotions based on their preferences and interests, as well as providing an easier ticket buying process.
“All online purchases will be managed through the TALENT Sport website, ensuring a fast and secure online experience that allows customers to make multiple purchases in one single transaction, on a range of devices.”
Advanced’s ticketing solutions are capable of being fully moblie responsive, enabling the site to be automatically adaptable to any device – whether it be PC, tablet or mobile. No matter what device, a client’s customers will have a seamless viewing experience and able to purchase tickets 24/7.
The software is designed specifically for clubs and venues, where a focused commerce platform gives a team’s supporters a fast, reliable and easy-to-use platform to purchase tickets whether it be online, in-store or directly from the ticket office.
Advanced partners will have the peace of mind of knowing that customer purchasing needs are met. Clubs can also take control of their customer data, which is integrated in the TALENT engine – to profile and engage with fans more intimately with targeted communications.
For a club like Southampton, part of the changing landscape was to cope with Covid and tier-level restrictions, where for a short time the Saints were able to allow up to 2,000 fans in St Mary’s Stadium.
“It was an easy decision to choose Advanced’s solution,” Danielle Lewis said, Head of Ticketing & Hospitality at Southampton FC.
“It was essential that we used technology to lead the way in our fan engagement strategy, and Advanced’s track record and credentials in the sports sector are second to none.
“We have been working collaboratively with Advanced to define our requirements and objectives and we are confident that they will enable us to achieve our goals, improve our fans’ online experience and deliver a first-class solution.”
The highly robust software, which operates 24/7 in the private cloud, guarantees first rate levels of service and performance. One of the features that Southampton benefit from is Advanced’s buy-back system, which allows anyone who cannot make a match to release their ticket back to the club. The club will also be able to manage the secure sale of the ticket to another fan, where these measures can help ease these fans back into the stadium are Covid restrictions eventually ease.
“Fans are leading the way in the digital era, expecting around the clock, fast and reliable access from any device when purchasing from clubs,” MD, Specialist Solutions at Advanced, Mark Dewell said.
“It’s rewarding to see a number of clubs recognising that our solution can deliver that connected fan experience.
“We are looking forward to helping Southampton FC keep one-step ahead of their fans’ requirements now and for the long term.”
Football Australia have announced that four Australian match officials have been chosen as candidates to possibly officiate at the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Australian female referees Kate Jacewicz, Casey Reibelt and assistant referees Sarah Ho and Joanna Charaktis will be required to fulfil a range of criteria over the next three years (in what FIFA is calling a ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project), to be in with a chance to be selected on FIFA’s final panel of match officials for the 2023 tournament.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said it is a great opportunity for the four match officials to officiate at a World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“We are thrilled to learn of the selections of Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah as part of FIFA’s ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project,” he said.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023 will be a tournament of firsts, and while numerous match officials have represented Australia at FIFA Women’s World Cups in the past, Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah have the opportunity to be the first to do so on home soil and in doing so lift the profile of Australian referees and match officials.
“Australians from many of areas of the game will be central to the delivery of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, and just like the Westfield Matildas, we are committed to doing everything we can to support our match officials on their paths to 2023.
“In the XI Principles for the future of Australian footballwe highlight our commitment to anchoring the growth of Australian football in women’s football. We are particularly focused on development pathways for our referees and match officials, and encouraging women and girls to take up opportunities to become referees and match officials. The involvement of Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah in FIFA’s ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project will provide the next generation of young match officials with champions to look up to.”
Jacewicz and Reibelt officiated at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, whilst Ho was involved in three previous Women’s World Cups in 2007, 2011 and 2015. If successful, Charaktis will referee at her first World Cup in 2023.
Football Australia has announced that Qukes Baby Cucumbers have signed an agreement to become a partner of the MiniRoos grassroots program, as well as an official supplier of the Socceroos and Matildas.
The deal will run for two years, with Qukes set to help deliver the MiniRoos program nationally.
Qukes Baby Cucumbers will be promoted as an ideal healthy sporting snack for Australian footballers of all ages, under the details of the partnership.
MiniRoos branding will also be present on Qukes’ product packaging across Australia.
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, detailed the importance of the governing body’s new partnership with Perfection Fresh via the Qukes brand: “Football has a participation base of nearly two (2) million Australians – including nearly a quarter of a million participants in the MiniRoos bracket – and can act as a powerful vehicle to deliver positive messages to the Australian community,” he said.
“With the 2021 MiniRoos season just a couple of months from kick-off, we’re proud to have partnered with Perfection Fresh and, in doing so, welcome another important corporate partner to our football family.
“The Australian football community is at the heart of the sport and vital to the ongoing growth and popularity of the sport in Australia. This agreement ensures that young players and their parents around Australia will be delivered important healthy eating messages and content, and, in the spirit of truly integrated and aligned marketing partnerships, we’re pleased to have Perfection Fresh Australia’s commitment to promote football via its national marketing initiatives. Soon the MiniRoos brand will live on over two million Qukes packages in supermarkets and grocers across Australia, while from next week MiniRoos branding will be beamed into up to 5.5 million households across the nation via a new Qukes television commercial.”
Perfection Fresh Australia Chief Executive Officer, Michael Simonetta, said: “We’re really excited to establish Qukes Baby Cucumbers as the perfect sporting snack for Aussie kids. Our partnership with Football Australia and the MiniRoos allows us to reach the next generation of fresh produce consumers, educating them on the benefits of fresh produce, healthy eating and regular activity.
“We want to get kids ‘Qrunching’ on Qukes and football as an inclusive, grassroots and community sport is the perfect partner. It touches the lives of many Australian families across the country and the Football Australia values TOGETHER, DIVERSE & UNITING really resonate with our brands and business as a whole.”