Football: Dunedin may be only option for All Whites

It should be known by the end of the week whether the All Whites will play in Dunedin in March but Forsyth Barr Stadium may be the only venue left to host the team.

The national side has two World Cup qualifiers left to play - one against New Caledonia in New Zealand on March 22, and then against the Solomon Islands in Honiara on March 26.

Where the match against New Caledonia will be played has yet to be decided although New Zealand Football is keen to make a decision as soon as possible.

New Zealand Football Operations manager Glyn Taylor said the organisation was in the process of putting some final figures together and he hoped to have a decision made by the end of the week.

Asked if Dunedin was a chance to host the game he said nothing had been decided but did confirm it was not out of the running.

''We like the idea of coming to Dunedin ... it is a first-class facility and is a great venue we would like to come to,'' he said.

''If we don't come this time then we will come another time.''

The only alternative to Dunedin on March 22 would appear to be Auckland but playing a game in the City of Sails on that date is not as straightforward as it seems. The third cricket test between England and New Zealand at Eden Park starts on March 22 so football could not be played there.

A music festival is scheduled for North Harbour Stadium on March 23 and, although it is not on the main stadium but the oval beside, it would be a logistical challenge to host a football game at the stadium the night before.

Mt Smart Stadium is also not a goer as it is hosting the New Zealand track and field championships that weekend.

Taylor admitted there were some variables around hosting the game in Auckland.

The Highlanders are playing in Hamilton that weekend so Forsyth Barr Stadium will be available.

Taylor said a major complication was getting the side over to Honiara as quickly as possible after the match against New Caledonia.

Flights were limited to the Solomon Islands so to get there the team may have to fly back to Auckland from Dunedin straight after the game.

The side would then fly to Brisbane and on to Honiara, arriving a couple of days before the match.

Alternatively the side could leave later and then get to Honiara on Monday, the day before the game.

Although this was not ideal, it was feasible to just arrive at the venue the day before and not even consider trying to adjust to the conditions.

The Solomon Islands Football Association had been in financial trouble and there had previously been the suggestion the game be moved from Honiara and played in New Zealand to save the Solomon Islands' football bosses some money.

But Taylor said the schedule had the game in Honiara.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd commercial director Guy Hedderwick said the stadium was keen to have the game but it was up to New Zealand Football.

The Wellington Phoenix will play the Melbourne Heart at Forsyth Barr Stadium on March 3 in an A-League game.

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