fbpx

New Zealand Football confirms 2020/21 season details

New Zealand Football has confirmed the details and starting dates of its national competitions for the 2020/21 season, during October and November.

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.

Avatar
Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Winner of FFA Cup to qualify for AFC Champions League

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced that any team who wins the FFA Cup from 2021 will be granted entry to one of the AFC Champions League preliminary round slots among key changes to Australia’s largest annual club-based sporting competition.

After Covid-19 halted proceedings this year, the FFA Cup will return in 2021 with adjustments made to improve and enhance the excitement associated with the competition, particularly as clubs from all levels have the chance to make their mark against Asia’s best.

Here are all the details for the 2021 FFA Cup:

  • Preliminary Rounds to be held between February and July next year, with the Final Rounds planned to be played between July and November – match details to be confirmed.
  • FFA Cup Semi-Finals & Final earmarked to be on stand-alone weekends for the first time. Final to be played at neutral venue.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds will feature an open draw for the first time – generating more competitive tension and uncertainty.
  • FFA Cup 2021 winner to be awarded a preliminary round slot representing Australia in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League*.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds Slot Allocation for A-League clubs and Member Federations to remain unchanged.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds Play-Off matches between the bottom four (4) placed A-League clubs from the A-League 2020/21 season will be played to determine the final two (2) A-League teams to enter the Round of 32.
  • Wollongong Wolves (NPL 2019 Champions) will be granted entry into the FFA Cup 2021 Final Rounds. Wollongong missed out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Principle IV of our XI Principles speaks to the ongoing optimisation of Australia’s competition structures and ensuring that Australia’s football pyramid is aligned and connected,” FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said.

“The FFA Cup is unique amongst all other sporting competitions in Australia in that a team of builders, electricians and office-workers might get the chance to compete against five-time A-League Champions Sydney FC.

“These changes to the FFA Cup from 2021 onwards demonstrate FFA’s commitment to not only enhancing the FFA Cup for the enjoyment of our football community, but to provide players and clubs at all levels of the game with the opportunity to aspire to represent Australia on the global stage.

“Playing the FFA Cup Final on a stand-alone weekend will enable the FFA Cup Final to develop its own identity within the national football calendar, and we envisage that an array of events – such as a national football conference or a national football weekend festival – can in the future be held in parallel with the FFA Cup Final.

“Furthermore, we believe that by connecting the FFA Cup Final with a variety of supporting football-focused events, we can engage a wide cross-section of the football community and make the event an increasingly attractive proposition to host cities and Governments.”

765 clubs had registered for the 2020 version of the FFA Cup and Johnson is confident these clubs will return.

“Next year’s FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds will be held much like in years gone by, however we are moving to adjust the structure of the Round of 32 – where professional A-League clubs enter the competition – into four geographic Zones,” he said.

“These Zones will promote local rivalries and competitive tension, and for the first time will feature an open draw to determine matches.

“The open draw will continue to feature right through to the semi-final stage, ensuring that there’s absolute uncertainty when the draw for each round of the competition is staged.” 

Premier League fans to return in partial numbers

The UK Government’s planned easing of restrictions will allow some English Premier League clubs to have fans return from December 2.

The UK Government’s planned easing of restrictions will allow some English Premier League clubs to have fans return from December 2.

Arsenal and Liverpool are among the ten clubs who are permitted to have fans return while the other half of the Premier League including Manchester City and Manchester United will have to continue playing matches behind closed doors.

A four week national lockdown in England is due to end on Wednesday – it will be replaced by a three tier system of different levels of restrictions.

Regions have been placed into different tiers depending on a number of factors such as the number of COVID-19 cases in the area and the rate at which cases are increasing or decreasing.

Clubs in Tier 3 regions are not permitted to have supporters attend games – this includes Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds United, Leicester City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United and West Brom.

Tier 2 regions can have a maximum of 2,000 supporters attend matches – meaning that Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Southampton, Tottenham and West Ham will be able to have supporters return.

There are currently no clubs that are in a region where Tier 1 restrictions will be in place, allowing for up to 4,000 supporters to attend a match.

Thursday’s Europa League match between Arsenal and Rapid Wien at Emirates Stadium will be the first match in England with fans in attendance since March.

“All supporters attending the Rapid Vienna fixture and future games at Emirates Stadium will be required to complete an online health questionnaire and a track-and-trace form prior to the match,” said Arsenal in a media release.

“For the Rapid Vienna game all necessary documentation will be emailed to you once you successfully purchase a ticket and your e-ticket will only be activated when these have been completed. This is in conjunction with UK Government and Premier League guidelines.”

Liverpool will host Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 6 at Anfield and is encouraging fans who will be attending the match to take a COVID-19 test on the day of the game or the day before.

The club will be using a ballot to allocate tickets to fans who live in the Liverpool City Region. Mobile phone technology will also be used for paperless tickets for the match.

FFA launches Domestic Transfer System discussion webinars

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has released the first, in what will be part of a series of webinars regarding the establishment of a modern Domestic Transfer System (DTS).

The webinars will range from November 28 to December 10be released between November 28 and December 10. The first instalment features discussion around the concept of a DTS, the benefits and challenges of the system, and the potential for reform and evolution in Australia.

FFA CEO James Johnson believes the introduction of a tailored Australian DTS would create enormous benefits for football in the country.

“Australian football has not operated with a properly functioning modern transfer system for some time, creating a ‘gap’ in the Australian football ecosystem, which requires remedy,” Johnson said.

“This is no more evident than in the total value of transfers received. The total global value of international transfers continues to grow, with FIFA reporting that this reached USD7.35 billion in 2019 and yet Australia received less than USD2 million for the same period – this represents a significant loss of opportunity for Australian clubs, players, and the game, generally.”

“In June this year, FFA’s ‘Starting XI’ – which features some of the most internationally experienced minds in Australian football – recommended that we introduce a DTS, understanding that a well-governed and fit-for-purpose system would provide much-needed stimulus to the Australian football economy, and lay the platform for Australia to further access the international transfer market.

The requirement for a DTS forms part of FFA’s XI Principles for the future of Australian football. Principle III is specifically dedicated to stimulating the growth of the Australian football economy via the establishment of a modern DTS.

The first webinar, accessible here, features football broadcaster Simon Hill speaking with Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold and Adelaide United FC Football Director, Bruce Djite, regarding their experiences with transfer systems.

“Importantly, a modern DTS would help address some of the player development challenges we have identified in our Performance Gap studies by ensuring that clubs, at all levels of the game, are appropriately incentivised to continuously and sustainably invest in the training and development of players,” Johnson added.

“The aim of our webinars, and the subsequent release of a DTS Reform White Paper in December, is to raise awareness of the global transfer system and encourage and facilitate discourse on the DTS.”

Upcoming instalments will feature input from professionals from leading international football organisations, such as Manchester United FC and the European Club Association.

Patrick Stewart, General Counsel at Manchester United, and Lina Souloukou, General Manager at Olympiakos, will join Mel McLaughlin for the second webinar, as transfer system strategies and insights are explored in conversation with representatives from two of European football’s biggest clubs.

In the third webinar, Mark Bosnich will be joined by Jose Luis Andrade, General Counsel of the European Clubs Association, and Dr Erkut Sogut, Vice Present of the Professional Agent’s Association, as the foundations of the system and its operations are explored.

In mid-December, FFA will release a DTS Reform White Paper that will serve as a conduit to stakeholder engagement throughout the process of crafting Australia’s DTS framework, with all stakeholders afforded the opportunity to contribute. The release of the DTS Reform White Paper will represent a key milestone in the establishment of Australia’s modern DTS, and outline a prospective timeline for implementation.

© 2020 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks