New Zealand Football and ISPS Handa are delighted to announce that the naming rights to Aotearoa New Zealand’s premier national football leagues have been extended for the 2020 and 2020/21 seasons.
As a result, the National Women’s League will now be known as the ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership for the 2020 season, while the ISPS Handa Premiership will be known as the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership for the 2020/21 season.
The extension of this relationship for the upcoming premiership seasons reaffirms the importance of the ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership to New Zealand’s football landscape, particularly after a winter season disrupted and, in the case of the Auckland region, ultimately curtailed, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said:
“We’re delighted that ISPS Handa have continued their relationship with New Zealand Football by extending their naming rights to both the women’s and men’s premierships. It helps to give our top tier domestic competitions a uniform identity and positions them equally in the football landscape.”
ISPS Handa founder and chairperson Dr Haruhisa Handa said:
“In these uncertain times, the power of sport is more vital than ever - to unite communities, to inspire hope. It is our delight and honour to title sponsor the NZ Women's Premiership this year and to continue with the NZ Men’s Premiership. ISPS Handa believes equality in sport will lead the world to the future we all deserve. We look forward to a fantastic season ahead for the athletes, spectators from New Zealand and around the world.”
As 2021 holds the prospect of the Olympic Games and age group world cups, the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership provides a domestic platform for Aotearoa New Zealand’s best domestic-based talent to test itself on.
And given Aotearoa New Zealand’s success in returning to its status of having no cases of COVID-19 in the community, the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will be one of the only domestic women’s leagues in the world that fans can attend.
The 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership is also supported by targeted funding from Sport NZ in light of the financial impacts of COVID-19.
About the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership
The 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will be contested by Northern Lights, Auckland Football, WaiBOP, Central Football, Capital Football, Canterbury United Pride and Southern United.
This ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership sees it shaping up to have a highest number of players capped by the Football Ferns and age group teams in recent years, as attention shifts to selection for next year’s Olympic Games and preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The opening round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will be played the weekend of 31 October/1 November.
It opens as 2019 champions Canterbury United Pride travel to their Southern neighbours in Dunedin for an early battle for South Island Pride on Saturday. Sunday sees Capital Football venture to Auckland’s North Shore in a bid to dim the Northern Lights’ title challenge early, and Auckland Football host Central Football, while WaiBOP have the first bye.
The 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership will take a single round-robin format. First and second will contest the Grand Final on the weekend of 19/20 December. As announced previously, the format change for this season was made following consultation and feedback from stakeholders including players, federations and clubs, and averts any possible clashes with players’ further commitments in the New Year.
Full fixtures can be found here. Please note that they are subject to change.
See individual team social media channels for information on player and staff announcements.
Article added: Friday 09 October 2020