The New Zealand Football Championship, also known as the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership, had a unique competition format that was divided into two stages: the regular season and the playoffs.
The regular season was the first stage of the competition and took place from October through to April. During this stage, each team played each other twice for a total of 18 games. The teams were awarded points for their performance, with three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. The regular season was a long and grueling stage, with each team playing a total of 36 matches over the course of six months.
The second stage of the competition was the playoffs, which determined the champion of the NZFC. The top four teams in the league advanced to the playoffs, with the first-placed team facing the fourth-placed team and the second-placed team facing the third-placed team in a two-legged knockout format. The winners of each tie would then face off in the Grand Final to determine the overall champion of the league.
The Grand Final was a single match played at a neutral venue, usually in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. The winner of the Grand Final was crowned the champion of the New Zealand Football Championship for that season.
The playoffs were an exciting time for fans of the league, as it often saw some of the most intense and dramatic matches of the season. The format ensured that the top teams had a chance to prove their worth in a knockout competition, adding an extra layer of excitement to the end of the season.
The NZFC did not have a system of promotion and relegation, meaning that the same ten teams competed in the league each year. This allowed for consistency and stability for the teams and their supporters, but also meant that there was little opportunity for new clubs to enter the league.
In conclusion, the New Zealand Football Championship had a unique competition format that featured a regular season followed by playoffs to determine the champion of the league. The format provided fans with excitement and drama, and allowed the top teams to prove their worth in a knockout competition. Despite not having promotion and relegation, the format allowed for consistency and stability for the teams and their supporters.