Falcons' players celebrate a goal against Canterbury United. Photo: Ricky Wilson/Shuttersport.

Nelson gets national league football team

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Nelson has earned a spot in the expanded national football competition.

Tasman United was confirmed as one of the ten teams to compete in next year’s ASB Premiership by New Zealand Football this afternoon.

Nelson Bays Football say they’re delighted that they’ve been handed a license to compete in the 2016/2017 ASB premiership.

“It’s a fantastic result for the top of the south football community,” says Nelson Bays Football general manager Clive Beaumont. “There has been a lot of hard work to this point, and there is a lot of hard work to get the franchise going by summer next year.”

The licence means the franchisee will run a senior men’s representative side, as well as a team in the under 20 ASB Youth League. The Nelson Marlborough Falcons which is the defending champions of the youth league will lose its licence at the end of this season.

“The last few years have been about getting the development structures and finances in place to be in position to be able to not only apply, but also to be competitive and sustainable if we were successful,” Clive says.

A ten person working party had been put together representing the football community. It is anticipated that the majority of this group will continue on to assist Nelson Bays in the running of the National League teams.

New Zealand Football says seven of the clubs involved in the current eight-team competition will continue in the expanded league with Auckland City FC, Waitakere United, Hawke’s Bay United, Team Wellington, Wellington Phoenix, Canterbury United and Southern United all at the start line for next season.

Those seven will be joined by new additions Hamilton Wanderers (replacing WaiBOP United), Auckland-based Eastern Suburbs AFC and Tasman United with all clubs handed two-year licenses.

All 10 entities will field teams in the ASB Premiership competition as well as the feeder ASB Youth League. After receiving 14 initial expressions of interest, which resulted in eight full applications over and above the clubs involved in the current competition, New Zealand Football Community Director Cam Mitchell said making the final call for the 10 teams was difficult.