New Zealand Soccer has confirmed the eight teams to contest its new-look national league starting in October.
The eight are: Otago United to be based in Dunedin at the Caledonian Ground; Canterbury United from English Park in Christchurch; Team Wellington from Newtown Park; YoungHeart Manawatu from Memorial Park in Palmerston North; Napier City from Park Island; Waikato FC from Waikato Stadium in Hamilton; Auckland City from Kiwitea St in Sandringham; and Waitakere United, based at The Trust Stadium in Henderson.
Three applicants missed out -- Ole Madrids of Wellington, Team Bay of Plenty, and East Auckland FC.
The competition will be played over three rounds with the top three qualifying for the finals -- the top-placed team going straight through to a home-ground grand final.
A major incentive for the eventual winner will be entry to the FIFA World Club Championships Oceania Qualifying Series in Tahiti in April 2005.
Board of New Zealand Soccer chairman John Morris described the selection process as exhaustive. "This is a once only opportunity to put a stake in the ground and produce a National League competition to meet New Zealand Soccer's objectives on and off the park," he said.
"We have made eight organisations happy with today's news but equally three will feel deflated. It is our wish that they continue to devote time and energy to the game in their regions."
New Zealand Soccer CEO Bill MacGowan said they were concerned with addressing player strength and depth.
"History tells us that some regions do not cope with more than one national league entity with a lack of player depth leading to both struggling."
Mr MacGowan said there were plans to review the competition after three years.