Auckland United will represent New Zealand at the OFC Women’s Champions League tournament in the Solomon Islands next March.
By winning the Grand Final of the Women’s National League, the Ben Bate-coached United side earned automatic qualification to the tournament, which is scheduled to be staged from March 10-23, 2024.
Main photo: Auckland United … winners of New Zealand’s Grand Final at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart.Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
The dates and tournament venue have been confirmed in the Oceania Football Confederation’s release of its competition calendar for 2024.
The OFC Women’s Champions League will be the second such tournament, with the inaugural event won by New Caledonia’s AS Academy Féminine in June.
AS Academy Féminine won the five-team tournament in Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand’s representative club, Eastern Suburbs, withdrew in May, citing concerns over costs, timing and security.
Of the withdrawal, OFC says: “The matter has been referred to the independent Ethics and Disciplinary committee.”
A decision has yet to be announced.
The first OFC tournament drew praise from FIFA who are expected to announce plans to launch a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup, possibly in 2025.
The OFC Women’s Championship is expected to provide the pathway for the region’s clubs to qualify for the Club World Cup, in a similar way to how the men’s competitions work.