Rejigged leagues starting at weekend

Finally, some football.

Southern United will begin its national league campaign — sort of — this weekend.

New Zealand Football has confirmed rejigged men’s and women’s leagues following the Government’s announcement on Monday that the Auckland and Waikato regions were still not moving to an alert level suitable for teams to play.

The national league has officially been cancelled, and will be replaced by a one-off inter-regional competition called the South Central Series.

On the women’s side, Southern United will be joined by Canterbury United Pride, Capital Football and Central Football.

Six regional qualifiers — Cashmere Technical, Miramar Rangers, Selwyn United, Wellington Olympic, Wellington Phoenix Reserves and Western Suburbs — will be in the men’s competition.

Both will start this weekend and run until December 12.

The women’s competition will be a double round robin, while the men’s will be a single round followed by a final.

Southern United opens with a tough away game against Canterbury on Sunday afternoon.

Its home games are on November 13 (Central), November 27 (Capital) and December 11 (Canterbury), and its other away games are on November 20 (Capital) and December 5 (Central).

New Zealand Football general manager of football Daniel Farrow was disappointed not to be able to run full national competitions but pleased teams able to play could get on the park.

“We have worked with our clubs and federations through the lockdown to attempt to find a solution and left it as long as possible to see if we could play the National League Championship.

‘‘Unfortunately, [Monday’s] announcement confirms it isn’t going to be possible.

“I’m delighted we are now able to get this new competition under way and look forward to finally seeing players back on the pitch.”

The remaining Chatham Cup semifinal and final will be moved to February 2022 due to the uncertainty around when semifinalist North Shore United will be able to play again.

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