New Zealand Football has announced a timetable for deciding if and how its top competitions can continue within guidelines required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan aims to maximise the chances of completing the National League, Chatham Cup and Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup without excluding teams from Auckland.
The plan was announced before the Waikato moved to alert level 3.
- Semi-finals for the Kate Sheppard Cup must be completed by October 31. Much will depend on whether Hamilton Wanderers will be able to play their semi-final against Coastal Spirit during the weekend of October 16-17.
- NZ Football will decide by November 1 whether the men’s and women’s National League Championships can go ahead. A key factor will be whether Auckland teams will be able to train with full contact by November 3. If not, the competitions won’t proceed this year.
- If the men’s league goes ahead, the six teams in the ‘South Hub’ will play each other once, starting the weekend of November 6. The four teams in the ‘Auckland Hub’ will play each other once starting the weekend of November 20.
- The two top teams from each hub will play semi-finals over the weekend of December 11-12 with a grand final planned for December 18.
- In the women’s league, the respective Auckland and South ‘hubs’ will start playing the same weekends as the men’s competition, with a preliminary final planned for December 11-12 between the winner from Auckland and the second-placed team from the south.
- A grand final will take place on December 18 between the winner of the ‘South Hub’ and the winner of the preliminary final.
Daniel Farrow, New Zealand Football General Manager, Football wanted to thank the football community for their help and flexibility in a challenging situation:
“We know the last few months have been hugely difficult for our football clubs, especially in the Auckland region.
“With this plan we feel we have put forward a solution that allows competitions to continue but also crucially buys us time when Auckland teams may not be able to leave the region.
“We know this is an evolving situation but I want to thank the football community for their help and input into this plan as well as their ability to work in an ever-changing landscape, as we have over the last few months.”