Major changes in store for premier South Island sides

Football South chief executive Chris Wright. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Football South chief executive Chris Wright. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
A transition year has been confirmed for South Island premier football next season.

The Southern Conference of the new national league will take on a format similar to the South Island league of 2018 and 2019.

From there it will become a fully fledged standalone league in 2022.

The top two teams from that league will progress to a national league with eight other qualifiers around the country, to be played from September to December.

The major change from the previous South Island leagues will be a full double-round of games in the Football South federation.

Previously one round had been used to find the top three teams.

It will begin on March 10, before a one-round South Island league of eight teams - three from the South and five from Mainland - begins in mid-July.

There would probably be some midweek games to fit the schedule into the timeframe.

Football South chief executive Chris Wright said the transition year was necessary to give teams a fair chance to qualify.

Given the lateness of the league revamp, teams would not have been aware they were playing for qualification had this year’s placings been used.

After next year’s league it was intended to expand to 10 teams in the Southern Conference, the additional two teams coming from Mainland.

The teams left playing locally would have the chance to gain promotion.

The winner of the southern championship league would have the right to challenge the bottom-placed Football South team for their spot.

Wright hoped there would be a possibility of an extra South team taking a Mainland spot if it became clear it had a fourth team performing better than the seventh Mainland side.

Logistically the league will be an improvement on its previous format, too.

Buses and drivers will be provided for away games, rather than teams having to drive mini-buses.

They will also have a night’s accommodation provided.

That is included in the entry free, which will be about $10,000 - a total Wright said was not a lot more than the current entry fee.

That total includes national league expenses.

New Zealand Football had invested in the league financially and costs would be equalised between teams right throughout the country.



This is probably the best step forward, with the federation / franchise model not really sustainable in provincial area and FIFA wanting leagues to be based on merit not automatic.

This gives local players and clubs a chance to reach the top level without leaving the area - but it's likely that the transition years will be a tough footballing experience - as there is marked difference in levels of local competition currently.

Good to see NZ Football putting money in to equalise travelling costs.

PJK you clearly don’t know the new set-up - basing your view solely on this article.
The federation / franchise model yes was costly to the franchises – but the new model will be just as costly to the clubs ‘lucky’ enough to go to the national round. The clubs will also not get the fan base or sponsors that the regional rep teams got.
Current teams were never chosen automatically. Being regional rep teams, they were chosen solely on merit. In the case of Southern United, Paddy O’Reilly chose his team regardless of which club they played for.
Local players in the provinces will NOT have the chance to play at national level. With only 2 teams from the South Island, they will always come from Chch. The provinces are the losers now. (On current standings teams will only come from Auck central, Welly & Chch). So good players WILL have to leave the area and will all move up to Aucks, just like the last time this hairbrained scheme was tried (remember?) The south island teams will be Cashmere Tech & Ferrymead Bays. Even a combined Dunedin club will not match what Chch clubs are planning, especially the Russians academy team Chch United.
So this will be the worst step backwards!


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