ISPS Handa Premiership draw confirmed

New Zealand Football is pleased to announce the draw for the upcoming ISPS Handa Premiership.

ISPS Handa (the International Sports Promotion Society) are the naming rights sponsor to New Zealand Football’s two premier men’s competitions; the ISPS Handa Premiership and the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup.

Daniel Farrow, the New Zealand Football Competitions and Events Director, said the ISPS Handa Premiership is the premier football competition in New Zealand and a vital pathway for New Zealand’s local football talent to progress onto the international stage. He said the national league clubs around New Zealand are excited about the inaugural ISPS Handa Premiership.

Click here for the ISPS Handa Premiership Draw for the 2017 – 18 season

“We are really looking forward to the start of the ISPS Handa Premiership in October as we continue to develop the quality of our premier men’s competition both on and off the pitch,” said Farrow.

“The ISPS Handa Premiership comes with the tag-line ‘Where All Whites are made’ and last year the competition was closer than it has been for many years. We look forward to seeing many of our best footballers compete around New Zealand for one our most-coveted football trophies.”

New Zealand Football has two key strategic aims; to have more New Zealanders playing and loving football and secondly to have its elite teams winning at global pinnacle events. The ISPS Handa Premiership is important because it brings 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.

The competition consists of 18 rounds – home and away fixtures for each club – with semi-finals to be staged on the weekend of 24 – 25 March and the ISPS Handa Premiership Final to be held on 1 April at QBE Stadium in Auckland.

Across 20 weeks of the ISPS Handa Premiership season, there will be 23 games broadcast live on SKY Sport with a post-match review show. There will also a ISPS Handa Premiership highlights show on Tuesday night throughout the season.

The competition proper officially begins on Sunday 22 October with Hamilton Wanderers hosting Tasman United at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton. The Charity Cup match between the finalists from last year Team Wellington and Auckland City will be staged on 15 October at Dave Farrington Park in Wellington. This match is a round eight fixture which has been rescheduled due to OFC Champions League commitments for those clubs.

Auckland City (six championships) are the most successful team in the history of the ISPS Handa Premiership ahead of Waitakere United (five titles), while Team Wellington have been the team to beat in recent time claiming the past two titles.

There are some big names joining the competition in 2017 – 18 with former All Whites coach Ricki Herbert, who famously took New Zealand to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, coaching Hamilton Wanderers. Former All Whites captain Danny Hay, who will take New Zealand to the FIFA U-17 World Cup next month, is in charge of Eastern Suburbs.

Dr Haruhisa Handa said ISPS Handa hopes to continue building their association with football in New Zealand after a successful staging of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup throughout the country in 2017.

“Sport has a unique ability to create hope, to break down educational and cultural barriers and to inspire people in a unique way,” said Dr Handa. “Football is a global game with massive participation across nations and cultures, which makes it an ideal game to bring people together. We are excited to partner with New Zealand Football in their great work through our title sponsorship of the ISPS Handa Premiership in the next three years.”

Meanwhile 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 know that the premiership is an important pathway for football in New Zealand and we are proud to continue to support its development,” said Dean Agnew, the CEO of Trillian Trust. “We want to ensure this competition stays at a high level and that local football benefits from having a strong national premiership. Our contribution is to ensure that New Zealand’s premier amateur competition stays within reach of every football fan in New Zealand.”

The countdown to 22 October is on as New Zealand Football and the National League clubs get ready to kick-off the ISPS Handa Premiership.

ISPS Handa Premiership
When: 22 October – 1 April
What: New Zealand Football’s Men’s National League
Teams: Auckland City, Eastern Suburbs, Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers, Hawke’s Bay United, Team Wellington, Wellington Phoenix Reserves, Tasman United, Canterbury United and Southern United
Live: 23 games Live on SKY Sport throughout the 2017 – 18 season, including a post-match review show and the weekly highlights of the ISPS Handa Premiership