Words: ACFC Media
Monday 10 September 2018
Picture: Marc Peretic Wilson
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - New Zealand Football is pleased to announce the official draw for the upcoming ISPS Handa Premiership.
ISPS Handa (the International Sports Promotion Society) are the naming rights sponsor of New Zealand Football’s two premier men’s football competitions – the ISPS Handa Premiership and the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup.
Daniel Farrow, Competitions and Events Director for New Zealand Football, says a lot of work has gone into developing the 2018/2019 ISPS Handa Premiership draw, with a key focus on continuing to build on the competition’s successes, both on and off the pitch.
“After another successful end to the winter season with the National Cup Finals day yesterday, we’re delighted to be able to release the eagerly-anticipated fixture list for the upcoming ISPS Handa Premiership,” he says.
“In 35 days’ time, we will open our pinnacle football competition with a repeat of last year’s final in the form of the Charity Cup and we expect to see another thrilling season. We’ve worked closely with our clubs and key partners to accommodate the preferences of the clubs and venue availability, as well as accounting for the OFC Champions League. We are also delighted to be in a position to continue to broadcast a feature match on SKY Sport for every match week during the season.”
The official draw for the 2019 OFC Champions League is yet to be conducted and therefore the broadcast matches for match weeks 16 to 19 will be confirmed following the release of the Champions League draw.
The ISPS Handa Premiership proved to be a breeding ground for Fritz Schmid’s All Whites squad in 2018. A total of 10 players – Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Justin Gulley, Liberato Cacace, Sarpreet Singh, Cameron Howieson, Clayton Lewis, Tim Payne, Alex Rufer, Andre De Jong and Moses Dyer – of the 21-strong squad who competed in The Hero Intercontinental Cup in India came from the ISPS Handa Premiership in recent times.
New Zealand Football has two key strategic aims – to have more New Zealanders playing and loving football and to have its elite teams winning at global pinnacle events. The ISPS Handa Premiership plays an important role in bringing those two strategic objectives together.
The ISPS Handa Premiership is contested by 10 teams around New Zealand – Auckland City, Eastern Suburbs, Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers, Hawke’s Bay United, Team Wellington, Wellington Phoenix Reserves, Tasman United, Canterbury United and Southern United.
Auckland City FC will be the defending champions of the ISPS Handa Premiership in the 2018/19 season after defeating Team Wellington 1-0 in the final at QBE Stadium in Auckland last season. The Navy Blues won their seventh title thanks a second-half goal from Callum McCowatt.
The competition consists of 18 rounds – home-and-away fixtures for each club – with semi-finals to be staged on the weekend of March 23-24 and the final to be held on March 31 at QBE Stadium.
Across 23 weeks of the ISPS Handa Premiership season, there will be 24 games broadcast live on SKY Sport with a post-match review show to begin in 2019 after the mid-season break. The competition officially begins on October 14 with the Charity Cup match between last year’s finalists, Auckland City FC and Team Wellington, at Kiwitea Street in Auckland.
Auckland City FC (seven titles) are the most successful team in the history of the ISPS Handa Premiership ahead of Waitakere United (five titles) and Team Wellington (two titles).
Trillian Trust Inc, a leading gaming trust, continues as a funding partner to support the ISPS Handa Premiership which is vital for the financial sustainability of the competition.
“We are very appreciative of the continued support of Trillian Trust and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and ISPS Handa on behalf of New Zealand Football,” Farrow says.
The countdown to October 14 is on as New Zealand Football and the clubs get ready to kick off the ISPS Handa Premiership.
ISPS Handa Premiership 2018/19
When: October 14 – March 31
What: New Zealand Football men’s national league
Teams: Auckland City FC, Eastern Suburbs, Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers, Hawke’s Bay United, Team Wellington, Wellington Phoenix Reserves, Tasman United, Canterbury United and Southern United
Live: 24 games live on SKY Sport throughout the 2018/19 season, including a post-match review show from 2019
Sun 30 Sep 2018, Auckland Grammar, 11.30am