Impact of the extension of the alert level on national football competitions
Following the announcement that the Auckland region will remain at its current alert level until at least November 1, New Zealand football has admitted that it is increasingly unlikely that the men’s and women’s competitions in the National League championship can take place.
Under the previously announced framework, all National League championship teams are expected to be engaged in full training and have the opportunity to play preseason games before November 3 to start competition on time. The likely next step for Auckland Alert Level 3 – Stage 2 sees the outdoor gatherings increase to 25, which is not enough for matches to be played. The unlikely move to Alert Level 3 – Stage 3 would be required when the muster limit is 50. Even if that decision were made, it would still be necessary to be clear about contact sports, mask wearing and distancing social – which is not yet known.
New Zealand football has previously confirmed that it will not host the National League championship without the participation of Auckland-based teams in order to maintain the integrity of the men’s and women’s competitions. This remains the case, but after hiring qualified clubs and federations outside of Auckland, who continued to train at Alert Level 2, interest was expressed in hosting a unique competition and independent of the National League for the men’s and women’s teams. .
The revised format would tentatively seek to include teams currently on Alert Level 2 (six teams in the men’s competition and four or five teams in the women’s competition depending on the state of alert levels in Waikato).
To clarify which qualifying teams are currently training outside of Auckland and Waikato, New Zealand football wants to confirm their intention to host a revised alternative competition, if the National League championship cannot take place. The alternative competition will take place over the same period, from November 6 to 7, for both men’s and women’s teams. The final decision on whether or not to hold the National League championship will be made on November 1 after the alert level planned by the government.
For the Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup and Chatham Cup, New Zealand football intends to complete both competitions without failing any of the teams involved and removing them from the competition due to restrictions in their region.
The extension of the alert level in Auckland means that the Kate Sheppard Cup will now be moved to 2022 due to the number of players involved for clubs in the semi-finals playing for federation teams. In the Chatham Cup, if the alternative competition takes place allowing the finalists Cashmere Technical and semi-finalists Miramar Rangers to remain in training, there is still the possibility of presenting the trophy this year. This will only be possible if the semi-finalists North Shore United are able to resume training, inter-regional travel and have sufficient return-to-play period before any match.
“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the clubs, the players, the federations and ourselves,” said Daniel Farrow, managing director of football at New Zealand Football.
“Throughout the lockdown we have worked out a number of scenarios to try and play the National League championship, but we are well aware that it seems increasingly unlikely that we will be able to do so.
“While we have made a commitment not to host the National League Championship without the Auckland teams, we are actively looking at some form of competition for teams able to get involved.
“We know that players need high quality minutes to develop and if we are able to organize an alternative competition, if the National League championship is not possible, it is in the best interests of the game that we do. “
For men, any alternative competition would have no impact on qualification for the OFC Champions League, which is the subject of separate discussions with OFC.
Added article: Wednesday, October 20, 2021