New Zealand Football Championship
|Number of teams||8|
|Levels on pyramid||1|
|Domestic cup(s)||White Ribbon Cup|
|International cup(s)||OFC Champions League|
|Current champions||Waitakere United (5th title)
|Most championships||Waitakere United (5 titles)|
|Current premiers||Waitakere United (5th title)
|Most premiers||Waitakere United (5 titles)|
|TV partners||Sky Sports (Playoffs only)|
|2012–13 ASB Premiership|
The New Zealand Football Championship (known as the ASB Premiership from 2011 for sponsorship reasons) is the national association football league in New Zealand. It is an amateur association football (soccer) sports franchise league that is operated by New Zealand Football. The league is run separately from various Winter regional club competitions, and many of the teams competing are franchises jointly run by Winter clubs. It is currently sponsored by ASB Bank.
Competition format 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2011)|
The league is an eight-team system, with each club playing everyone else twice. After the end of the regular season, the top four teams progress to the playoffs. The playoffs are run as a home-and-away semi-finals series, with the winners progressing to a one-match Grand Final.
The league competition phase was initially contested by a three-round, 21-match league system, each team playing every other team three times. This system was in place for the first four seasons of the competition. It was changed to the present two-round, 14-match system in 2008, due to financial difficulties affecting some of the teams in the league.
The playoff competition phase was initially run as a three-team playoff system, in which the Minor Premier (winner of league phase) received a bye and hosting rights for the grand final, with second and third placed teams playing off in a one-game preliminary final. For the 2005-06 season, the NZFC experimented with a five team playoff (see NZFC 2005-06), however this was discontinued and the league reverted to the three-team playoff for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
The teams that win the league phase (the "Minor Premier") and the Grand Final (the "champion") qualify for the OFC Champions League. Should the same team win both the Minor Premiership and the Championship, the second O-League spot will be granted to league runner-up. This had occurred during the 2007-08 season, where Waitakere United won both the league and the final. This resulted in Auckland City FC, league runner-up, to enter the O-League, despite Team Wellington contesting the grand final.
Establishment in 2004-present 
The New Zealand Football Championship was created as a replacement to the former New Zealand National Soccer League, a tournament involving clubs from the regional governing bodies of New Zealand Football. The NZFC would be run as a summer league involving new clubs created solely for the new competition, with these new clubs being run jointly by existing winter clubs. The only exception to this was Napier City Rovers, whose summer club would be rebranded Hawke's Bay United during the second season, to be operated jointly by other clubs in the Hawke's Bay region.
Eleven groups bidded for franchises, with the successful bids being announced on 7 April 2004 as Auckland City FC, Canterbury United, Napier City Rovers, Otago United, Team Wellington, Waikato FC, Waitakere United and YoungHeart Manawatu, with Olé Madrids, East Auckland and Team Bay of Plenty being excluded. Unhappy at their exclusion, the Olé Madrids bid team took New Zealand Soccer to court, suing for damages and demanding inclusion in the competition, claiming that while they met NZ Soccer's criteria for inclusion, other bids who succeeded did not. The case was dropped by the Madrids team eight days before the commencement of the first NZFC season. Western Suburbs, the club associated with the Olé Academy, is now a principal member of the Team Wellington franchise. East Auckland also considered legal action, however this did not occur.
The first match of the competition was on 15 October 2004, with Auckland City defeating Napier City Rovers 3-1 at Park Island, Napier. Auckland also won the final match of the inaugural season, defeating Waitekere United to become the first NZFC Champion. Auckland would go on to win the grand final again in the next two seasons, creating the competitions first dynasty.
The second season saw Napier City Rovers rebrand and re-organize their NZFC team as Hawke's Bay United, forming an amalgamated franchise with other local clubs. It also saw the first instance of a NZFC team winning the O-League, with Auckland City FC defeating French Polynesian team AS Pirae 3-1.
The third season saw two NZFC teams qualify for the O-League, with the eventual Grand Final runner-up Waitakere United qualifying in place of Vanuatu's Port Vila Sharks withdrawing. When Port Vila Sharks decided to withdraw, the NZFC was in their 3rd round when the OFC decided give their place to a second NZFC team. However the decision by NZF for Waitakere United to be rushed into the O-League was because they were the leading club (besides the already qualified Auckland City FC) in the NZFC after the 7th round of that season. The decision by the NZF was in a mist of controversy, as YoungHeart Manawatu was in contention to be the leading club.
However Auckland City FC had won a game against Waitakere United with a player who was not allowed to play. The player had refused to play for a nationally selected touring team citing injuries but yet had turned out to play for Auckland City FC in the NZFC. This was against NZF policy for NZFC teams, which states that a NZFC player which has cited injuries as a reason for not playing for a nationally selected team, cannot play for the NZFC team while the nationally selected team was playing at the same time. The policy was to prevent nationally selected NZFC players from using injuries as a deception to play elsewhere and not fulfill national duties. Hence there was a reversal of the result giving Waitakere United the three league points it needed to lead the NZFC and deducting the three league points that Auckland City FC had while leading the NZFC. YoungHeart Manawatu who was in second-placed, behind Auckland City FC but ahead of Waitakere United, before the reversal of the result then found themselves to be in 3rd place afterwards. YoungHeart Manawatu had lodged a formal complaint with NZF which was then turned down. Waitakere United capitalized on this opportunity by winning that year's O-League competition.
With the first three seasons completed, the NZFC granted three-season license extensions to seven of the eight franchises - all but YoungHeart Manawatu, who had to re-apply on account of the NZFC's concerns towards the clubs financial and organizational situation. However YoungHeart managed successfully earn reinstatement after beating out four rival bids - one based in Gisborne, one from North Shore City, and two from Manukau. Olé Madrids also applied for the license, however they withdrew early.
The 2007/08 season saw the end of the Auckland City FC dynasty, with Team Wellington eliminating them in the preliminary final. Waitakere United went on to win the Grand Final - in doing so, completing "the treble" - winning the Youth League, the Premiership and the Championship all in one season. A year later the 2008/09 season saw the championship return to Auckland City FC, after a season dominated by minor premiers Waitakere United. After the cross-town neightbours had taken care of both Team Wellington and YoungHeart Manawatu respectively in the semi-finals, the grand final was held at Douglas Field. Waitakere United – who hadn’t lost at home for almost two full seasons, looked on course for a second successive crown when Allan Pearce benefited from Roy Krishna’s good work to tap in a 15th minute opener. A piece of Keryn Jordan magic however and a late goalkeeping error from Waitakere’s Richard Gillespie would see the trophy head back to Kiwitea Street for a fourth time in five seasons.
On 12 April 2010 Canterbury United produced arguably the result of the 2009/10 NZFC season in a stunning 3-0 victory at Kiwitea Street. This result overturned a 2-1 semi-final first leg deficit and knocked defending champions Auckland City FC out of the competition 4-2 on aggregate. The form book was almost thrown out the window at Fred Taylor Park also as Team Wellington came within seconds of defeating Waitakere United in the other semi-final. A ninety-second minute goal from Brent Fisher eventually saw Waitakere United through on the away goals rule after a 3-3 draw on aggregate. The Grand Final however had a familiar outcome despite the Dragons taking an early lead through Tom Lancaster. Solomon Islands International Benjamin Totori levelled the scores then the balance of the match was tipped in Waitakere United’s favour following the sending off of Paul Dirou. This proved to be the case as the home side scored two unanswered second half goals through Allan Pearce and a second from Benjamin Totori to win the match 3-1. This result saw Neil Emblen's side win their second Championship in three seasons.
The league has been dominated by Auckland City and Waitakere United. The pair contest a local derby.
Current clubs 
There are currently eight clubs from New Zealand playing in the New Zealand Football Championship. Unlike most European leagues, there is no system for promotion and relegation. This system is similar to leagues in Australia and in the United States.
|Team||City, Region||Stadium||Joined||Head Coach|
|Current ASB Premiership Clubs|
|Auckland City FC||Auckland, Auckland Region||Kiwitea Street||2004||Ramon Tribulietx|
|Canterbury United||Christchurch, Canterbury Region||ASB Football Park||2004||Keith Braithwaite|
|Hawke's Bay United||Napier, Hawke's Bay Region||Bluewater Stadium||2004||Chris Greatholder|
|Otago United||Dunedin, Otago Region||Forsyth Barr Stadium||2004||Richard Murray|
|Team Wellington||Wellington, Wellington Region||David Farrington Park||2004||Matt Calcott|
|Waikato FC||Hamilton, Waikato Region||Porritt Stadium||2004||Mark Cossey|
|Waitakere United||Waitakere City, Auckland Region||Fred Taylor Park||2004||Paul Marshall|
|YoungHeart Manawatu||Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui Region||Memorial Park||2004||Stu Jacobs|
Champions and premiers 
The teams that win the league phase (the "premier") and the Grand Final (the "champion") qualify for the OFC Champions League. Should the same team win both the Premiership and the Championship, the second O-League spot will be granted to league runner-up.
Premiership Winners 
||2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13|
|Auckland City FC||
||2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2011–12|
Championship Winners 
||2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13|
|Auckland City FC||
||2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09|
Golden Boot 
The Golden Boot is presented to the player who scores the most goals during the season.
|2007–08||Graham Little||Team Wellington||12|
|2008–09||Luis Corrales||Team Wellington||12|
|2009-10||Seule Soromon||YoungHeart Manawatu||9|
|2010–11||Allan Pearce||Waitakere United||13|
|2011–12||George Slefendorfas||Canterbury United||12|
|2012–13||Roy Krishna||Waitakere United||12|
New Zealand Football Championship records 
All-time NZFC regular season records by club 
Updated to the end of the 2012/13 season
|1||Auckland City FC||9||154||105||27||22||386||167||+219||341*||4||4||1||-|
|6||Hawke's Bay United†||9||154||49||28||77||231||315||-84||175||-||-||-||1|
- * Waitakere were awarded a goalless win against Auckland in 2006/07
- † Includes record as Napier City Rovers
All-time NZFC playoff records by club 
Updated to, and including, the 2009/10 playoff semi-finals.
|1||Auckland City FC||6/6||11||7||1||3||26||20||+6||22||4||-||1|
|-||Hawke's Bay United†||0/6||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
- * Y.H. Manawatu finished 3rd in the 2008/09 playoffs with a better record than the other semi-finalist, Team Wellington. Team Wellington finished 3rd in the 2009/10 playoffs with a better record than the other semi-finalist, Auckland City.
- † Includes record as Napier City Rovers
Highest scoring games 
|Goals scored||Season||Date||Competition||Home team||Result||Away team|
|10||2005-06||7 January 2006||Regular season||
||4 – 6||
|10||2007-08||20 January 2008||Regular season||
||1 – 9||
|10||2011-12||22 January 2012||Regular season||
||9 – 1||
|10||2012-13||20 January 2013||Regular season||
||1 – 9||
|10||2012-13||9 March 2013||Finals series||
||6 – 4||
|9||2005-06||18 February 2006||Regular season||
||8 – 1||
|9||2007-08||30 March 2008||Regular season||
||4 – 5||
|9||2011-12||15 January 2012||Regular season||
||2 – 7||
Biggest winning margin 
|Goals margin||Season||Date||Competition||Home team||Result||Away team|
|8||2006-07||8 March 2007||Regular season||
||8 – 0||
|8||2007-08||6 January 2008||Regular season||
||0 – 8||
|8||2007-08||20 January 2008||Regular season||
||1 – 9||
|8||2011-12||22 January 2012||Regular season||
||9 – 1||
|8||2012-13||20 January 2013||Regular season||
||1 – 9||
|7||2005-06||18 February 2006||Regular season||
||8 – 1||
|7||2006-07||26 January 2007||Regular season||
||7 – 0||
|7||2011-12||4 February 2012||Regular season||
||7 – 0||
Related competitions 
ASB Phoenix Challenge 
The 2010-11 season saw the introduction of the ASB Challenge Series. This was an individual friendly competition in which the eight Premiership teams competed against a reserve team attached to Wellington Phoenix FC, a New Zealand based team playing in the Australian A-League. The ASB Phoenix Challenge was discontinued after the 2010-11 season but reinstated for 2012-2013.
ASB National Youth League 
New Zealand Football also runs the Under-20 ASB National Youth League. The 2011/12 season consists of two four-team conferences (North and South) that play against each conference opponent twice (home and away), for six regular season games. At the conclusion of the youth league regular season, the top ranked Northern team hosts the second ranked Southern team, and the top ranked Southern team hosts the second ranked Northern team for the semi finals. The winners of these matches will face each other in the grand final. The current Youth League champion is Canterbury United, having defeated Waitakere United 2 - 1 after extra time at Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland For the 2012-13 season the competition was expanded to 10 teams with the Nelson Falcons competing in the southern conference and Northern U17's connected to the New Zealand national team in the Northern conference.
|2007/08||Waitakere United||6 - 3 (AET)||Canterbury United|
|2008/09||Auckland City||6 - 4 (AET)||Waitakere United|
|2009/10||Canterbury United||6 - 0||Waitakere United|
|2010/11||Waitakere United||2 - 0||Canterbury United|
|2011/12||Canterbury United||2 - 1 (AET)||Waitakere United|
|2012/13||Auckland City||3-0||Otago United|
OFC Champions League 
The OFC Champions League, also known as the O-League, is the premier football competition in Oceania. It is organized by the OFC, Oceania's football governing body. It has been organized since 2007 under the current format, following its successor, the Oceania Club Championship. Two teams from the ASB Championship participate annually. Four O-League titles have been won by teams from New Zealand.
White Ribbon Cup 
The White Ribbon Cup, is a knockout cup competition run by New Zealand Football. The 2011-12 season will be the inaugural season of the NZF Cup.
It was established in 2011 to provide regular football for the six clubs not participating in the Oceania Champions League and runs in conjunction with the ASB Premiership regular season.
|2011/12||Team Wellington||6 - 1||Waikato FC|
Referees are selected from around New Zealand and occasionally include guest referees from other nations, most notably Australia. Whilst the match referees may travel to games outside their home federation, assistant referees and fourth officials are from generally within the hosting federation.
See also 
- Auckland Derby
- New Zealand Champions (Soccer)
- New Zealand Football Championship Records
- New Zealand National Soccer League
- "BLACK YEAR FOR NEW ZEALAND AFTER ALL WHITES LOSS. | Asia Africa Intelligence Wire (December , 2004)". Accessmylibrary.com. 29 December 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "Team Wellington :: Home - National Service". Tw.org.nz. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Published: 4:30PM Tuesday 6 April 2004 (6 April 2004). "New soccer franchises revealed | FOOTBALL | SPORT". tvnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- www.Aragon.Ws/SoccerDB: NZFC Eternal Table
- Seasons played
- Regular season champions
- Regular season runners-up
- Regular season third
- Regular season fourth
- Playoffs reached/seasons played
- Playoff champions
- Playoff runners-up
- Playoff third
- Hallett, David (30 November 2011). "Canterbury United's Kamo unlikely for first round". The Press. Retrieved 2011-11-30.