OFC Decision Pending for Appeal by New Zealand Football Inc.

By Jeremy Mogi – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby

The OFC Appeals Committee reconvened in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday regarding the appeal for a decision of the OFC Disciplinary Committee made by New Zealand Football Incorporated.

On 12 July, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Disciplinary Committee reached a decision regarding the eligibility of player Deklan Wynne in the match between New Zealand and Vanuatu.

As the player assumed a new nationality in January 2015 (New Zealand nationality), the player was required under relevant provision article seven to have either been born in New Zealand, to have lived in New Zealand for five years after reaching the age of 18, or to have a parent or grandparent who was born in New Zealand.

After deliberations, the Committee decided that Wynne was ineligible to play in the OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament as he did not meet the requisite criteria set out in the FIFA Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes.

The Committee formally communicated this decision to the New Zealand Football Federation (NZF) by facsimile on 14 July 2015.

On 14 July 2015, the NZF requested the grounds for the Committee’s decision under art. 125 of the OFC Disciplinary Code.

The attached written decision responds to that request. Unfortunately, the player did not meet these criteria and was found to be ineligible.

If a player takes part in an official match despite being ineligible, the player’s team will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match and paying a fine.

That Match was played on July 10th in the OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. New Zealand Football has the right to lodge an appeal to the Appeals Committee against this decision if it objects to the Committee’s representation of the facts or considers the Committee applied the law incorrectly.

An appeal must be communicated to OFC in writing within fifteen days of the communication of this decision.

The decision has long term ramifictions for new Zealand, as huge financial investments had been made on this team, and while it directly affects one player, the federation could have their own set of issues to deal with, considering upcoming major tournaments, such as the Women’s U20 and senior Mens World cup events.

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