Football: The holes in NZF's appeal

Deklan Wynne.
Deklan Wynne.
Three days after the Oly Whites were spectacularly dumped from their Olympic Qualifying tournament by Oceania Football Confederation for fielding an ineligible player, there are still more questions than answers.

As the lawyers prepare for a long and complicated appeals process, we look at some of the possible holes in the New Zealand Football argument.

What's the appeal?
New Zealand Football are fighting OFC's decision on two fronts. They are arguing that South African born Deklan Wynne is in fact eligible to represent New Zealand and they are also arguing against the process by which OFC reached their decision.

Have NZF said why they think Deklan Wynne was eligible?
No, and that was the great un-answered question from yesterday's press conference. When Andy Martin was asked to explain on what grounds Wynne was eligible to represent New Zealand he said: "I'd love to be able to do that but I'm waiting for the lawyers to give me confidence in terms of the decision we have taken."

What do we know for certain about Wynne's citizenship?
Wynne emigrated to NZ and acquired citizenship by residency, having arrived in NZ aged 14 years, 10 months in January 2010. For the Olympic qualifiers he used a New Zealand passport issued in January 2015.

What we know:
Wynne does not meet the criteria of Article 7 in the Fifa Statues as he hasn't lived in NZ continuously for five years since he turned 18 (he's 20). Critically, this is the Article that OFC have referenced when explaining their decision.

So what are NZF saying?
NZF believe he qualifies under a different section - Article 6, which is written for a player eligible to represent more than one association.

What are the potential problems here?
It's the Herald's understanding that Article 6 is used for players born in a Sovereign State or who have dual nationality. For example, a player born in Puerto Rico has American nationality and may choose to represent either the USA or Puerto Rico at international level. It is not for a player like Wynne who was born in South Africa, then moved with his family to New Zealand when he was 14.

What else?
Section D of Article 6 stipulates that Wynne would have had to have lived continuously in New Zealand for two years. But that could also be defined as two years since he became a NZ citizen and it's not yet clear when that was.

Would NZF have avoided all of this if they had applied for an exemption?
Andy Martin: "Would they have given dispensation we don't know. The early advice from the lawyers is that if you apply for it and don't get it, you're stuffed."

Ok, so what about all this process stuff?
NZF believe any dispute about player eligibility should have been lodged prior to the tournament. They also have issue with the timeline of OFC's disciplinary actions following their semi-final. OFC say they acted in compliance with the Fifa regs and that NZF had two hours to present the relevant evidence of Wynne's eligibility and failed to do so.

What now?
We look set for a long and drawn out legal battle. OFC has appointed heavy hitter Mai Chen - one of New Zealand's top constitutional and administrative law experts - to advise the OFC Disciplinary committee and NZF has engaged two legal firms to act on their behalf.

How long is this likely to drag out?

What happens if NZF's appeal fails?
NZF's last hope would be to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

What other New Zealand players are now under a cloud?
Anyone not born in New Zealand, with no Kiwi bloodline may now face an anxious wait. The most high profile All White this may affect is Storm Roux.

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