22 Jun 2013

Durante eligibility up in the air

5:30 pm on 22 June 2013

The Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante's international football career could be over almost as soon as it began, following the announcement of a FIFA probe into his eligibility for New Zealand.

The 31-year-old Australian born-defender faces being ruled out of playing for the All Whites for two and a half years, after FIFA opened proceedings against New Zealand Football over Durante's debut in March's 2-0 away win over the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand Football CEO Grant McKavanagh says their focus was on the fact that Durante had sat on the bench for Australia once.

But McKavanagh says FIFA's looking into Durante's three-month loan to Sydney FC, for their 2011 Asia Champions League campaign.

McKavanagh says he understands the Solomons complained about the international status of Durante, and the investigation should finally settle that question - and possibly clear him for November's crucial World Cup qualifier.

But equally FIFA could decide he'll have to wait another two and a half years, putting his future in white in doubt.

McKavanagh says New Zealand will still proceed to that intercontinental playoff against the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF region, regardless of the disciplinary proceedings.