Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 18 March 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC chairman Ivan Vukisch is disappointed the 2019-20 ISPS Handa Premiership season has come to a premature end but said public health and the health of all club members, staff, players and volunteers must come first.
New Zealand Football announced the cancellation of the rest of the 2019-20 ISPS Handa Premiership season on Wednesday and awarded Auckland City FC the national title with Team Wellington picking up the second OFC Champions League qualifying berth for the next Oceania campaign, whenever that can next be played.
"Nobody wanted to see the football season end this way with just 13 games left to play, but given the realities presented by Covid-19, and following Government recommendations and those of New Zealand Football, we feel this is the right decision," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
NEWS | Due to safety concerns, the @ISPSHanda Premiership season has been concluded with @AucklandCity_FC declared as champions— New Zealand Football (@NZ_Football) March 18, 2020
Read more https://t.co/lpxnZJgnDb#ISPSHandaPrem #WhoYouGot @PhotosportNZ pic.twitter.com/N3ZzdIwuGq
"We've been awarded the ISPS Handa Premiership title but it doesn't feel like we've won it in some ways because there were at least four matches left before the end of the campaign and anything could've happened.
"Team Wellington weren't far behind and Waitakere United, Eastern Suburbs AFC, Tasman United, Hamilton Wanderers and Southern United were all chasing hard for a playoff spot or better.
"Nevertheless, we remain very proud of the way our players and coaching staff, led by Jose Figueira, went about their season with the utmost diligence.
"The team set a very high standard and they can be proud of their work and I extend my congratulations to Jose and team.
"Everyone connected with our club recognises the players efforts, perseverance and dedication this season.
"But we're the first to admit this is an unusual set of circumstances in which to earn a title," he said.
Vuksich said that football must take a backseat as the world comes to grips with a global pandemic.
"There is a lot of uncertainty in society right now and while football is clearly important to our community, it is not the most important thing.
"The most important things in life are family, friends and loved ones, and making sure everyone in society is safe.
"Like everybody else right now we're focused on doing everything we can to play our part in preventing the spread of Covid-19," he said.
All community football in New Zealand is postponed until May 2, 2020, and the OFC Champions League is postponed until April 6, 2020.
AUCKLAND CITY FC - CLUB HONOURS
FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Medal 2014 (1)
Nike Lunar New Year Cup 2017 (1)
OFC Champions League Winners 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 (9)
OFC Presidents Cup Winners 2014 (1)
ISPS Handa Premiership Winners 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2017/18, 2019/20* (8)
ISPS Handa Premiership Runners-Up 2010/11, 2012/13, 2015/16 & 2016/17 (4)
ISPS Handa Premiership Premiers 2004/05, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20* (11)
NZF Charity Cup 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 (6)
NZF Charity Cup Runners-Up 2012, 2014, 2017 (3)
NZF National Youth League Champions 2006/07, 2008/09, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19 (6)
Steve Sumner Memorial Trophy Winners 2017 (1)
*New Zealand Football cancelled the 2019/20 season and awarded the ISPS Handa Premiership and ISPS Handa Premiership minor title to Auckland City FC after 16 rounds due to Covid-19.
**Oceania Football Confederation postponed the OFC Champions League until May 6, 2020, at the quarter-final stage due to Covid-19.
FIFA Club World Cup Appearances
Japan 2006, UAE 2009, Japan 2011, Japan 2012, Morocco 2013, Morocco 2014, Japan 2015, Japan 2016, UAE 2017 (9)
IFFHS Oceania Club of the Decade (2001 – 2010)
Sport Auckland Team of the Year 2006, 2010, 2011 & 2012
CORONA VIRUS PREVENTION
Sun 24 Jan, 2021, Madills Farm kick-off: 4pm NZDT