Will this be the year your club or team earns a storied place in New Zealand Football history? Entries are now open for the 2017 editions of both the ISPS HANDA Chatham Cup and the Women’s Knockout Cup.
Steeped in history and tradition, the Chatham Cup is one of New Zealand sport’s oldest and most coveted trophies and will enter an exciting new chapter this year with the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS HANDA) coming on board as competition sponsor.
ISPS HANDA was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to further the transformative power of sport across the globe. With an extensive history of supporting sport in New Zealand, Dr Handa is delighted to now be lending his name and backing to the country’s premier male winter club competition.
“We know football is the global game,” he says. “The huge participation in football across a range of cultures and backgrounds in New Zealand makes it an ideal game to bring people together. We are excited to have an impact and help New Zealand Football to continue their great work.”
The Chatham Cup has been contested annually since 1923 by over 120 affiliated New Zealand Football clubs, schools and other teams – all vying for the right to be named Chatham Cup champions. The cup was gifted to the then New Zealand Football Association (NZFA) in 1922 by the crew of the British naval vessel HMS Chatham as a token of appreciation for the hospitality they had encountered on a visit to New Zealand.
The ISPS HANDA Chatham Cup 2017 is the 90th running of the competition and University-Mt Wellington are the most successful club in the competition’s history having won the trophy a record seven times. Last year, Birkenhead United claimed the first Chatham Cup title in their history with a thrilling 3-2 extra-time victory over fellow Aucklanders Waitakere City in a dramatic final at QBE Stadium in Auckland.
First contested in 1994, the Women’s Knockout Cup has been won by ten clubs with Christchurch’s Nomads United claiming the inaugural title.
Auckland’s Lynn Avon United are the most successful club in the history of the competition having won nine times, including seven of eight years between 2002 and 2009.
Last year, Forrest Hill Milford United wrestled the Women’s Knockout Cup title off holders and neighbours Glenfield Rovers, the North Shore sides fighting out a 2-2 draw before Forrest Hill claimed their first ever title on penalties in an action-packed final at QBE Stadium.
New Zealand Football Community Director Cam Mitchell says both competitions are held in high regard up and down country.
“Both the ISPS HANDA Chatham Cup and the Women’s Knockout Cup have a special place in the New Zealand Football calendar,” he says.
“The ISPS HANDA Chatham Cup has been the centrepiece of the domestic winter football schedule for 90 years. That storied history and tradition is built on every season with a raft of dramatic twists and turns and I’m sure this year’s competition will be no different,” he adds.
“The Women’s Knockout Cup provides another domestic outlet for our country’s top female players with a number of recent champions well served by players who have represented their country at either age group or senior Football Ferns level.”
Entries for both competitions close on March 31.