19 Feb 2009

NZFC Grand Final moved for TV

7:55 am on 19 February 2009

New Zealand Football has moved its domestic summer Championship Grand Final forward a week so it can be shown live on Sky TV.

Originally scheduled for April 4th, football's domestic showpiece will now be played on March 29th.

In addition to televising the grand final, Sky will also broadcast the second leg of one semi final on March 22nd.

To create room for the date switch, an OFC Champions League Group A decider between Waitakere United and Auckland City has been moved back a week to April 5.

With two weekends remaining in the NZFC regular season, defending champions Waitakere United are already assured of a place in an expanded top four playoffs, but five teams - Auckland City, YoungHeart Manawatu, Hawke's Bay United, Waikato FC, and Team Wellington - are still fighting over the remaining three spots.

This season the semi-finals will be played home and away over two legs, with away goals being used to separate the teams if aggregate scores are level. The highest placed semi-final winner will earn home advantage in the Grand Final.

Auckland City won the first three NZFC Grand Finals beating Waitakere United 3-2 in 2005, Canterbury United 4-3 on penalties in 2006 (after scores were locked at 3-3 at the end of extra time), and Waitakere again 3-2 in 2007, while Waitakere claimed the trophy last season with a 2-0 win over Team Wellington.