New Zealand are to take legal action after their men’s team were thrown out of Olympic qualifying for fielding an ineligible player.
The Kiwis were due to play Fiji in the final of the Oceania qualifiers after beating Vanuatu 2-0 in the semi-finals.
But the Oceania Football Confederation (OCF) upheld Vanuatu’s protest that South-African born Deklan Wynne was ineligible to play in the match.
Vanuatu were then awarded a 3-0 win, but lost to Fiji in Sunday’s final.
Fiji will represent the Oceania region at next year’s Rio Olympics after beating Vanuatu 4-3 on penalties.
Left-back Wynne, 20, represented New Zealand at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup last month and has played at senior level after becoming a naturalized New Zealander.
The OCF’s disciplinary committee ruled on Sunday that Wynne did not meet any of the criteria set out in article seven of the Fifa statutes, that would allow him to represent New Zealand.
Wynne, who was not born in New Zealand and doesn’t have a New Zealand parent or grandparent, would have to have lived in New Zealand for five years from the age of 18 to be eligible.
New Zealand Football said it was not aware of the disciplinary hearing and was told the matter was being referred to Fifa.
They are now working with their lawyers to contest the committee’s decision
Chief executive Andy Martin said: “While we firmly believe that the match should have been delayed, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that any final decision is only reached after a proper and fair process has been carried out.
“We trust that Oceania Football Confederation will change its position and conduct that proper and fair process.” – [BBC]