15 Jul 2015

Pac Games says NZF only have themselves to blame

3:15 pm on 15 July 2015

The Pacific Games Council executive director Andrew Minogue says New Zealand Football only have themselves to blame for being kicked out of the Olympic qualifiers.

Deklan Wynne

Deklan Wynne Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Oly Whites were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in their semi-final win over Vanuatu in the Oceania tournament that runs alongside the Pacific Games being held in Papua New Guinea.

New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin said on Tuesday that NZF had received confirmation of the eligibility of their squad from the Pacific Games Council before the tournament began.

However the Olympic qualifying tournament was run by the Oceania Football Confederation and not the Pacific Games, rendereing that pre-event confirmation irrelevent.

Minogue concedes the Pacific Games Council made a mistake but says New Zealand Football must shoulder the responsibility for their disqualification.

"It was an administrative error that the New Zealand football players were included in that spreadsheet that should (have) been taken out but I don't believe there's any grounds for argument that there's been a misrepresentation on their eligibility because their players were always subject to FIFA eligibility.

Meanwhile FIFA says its disciplinary committee will not intervene in the controversy.

New Zealand said they had been led to believe that world governing body FIFA would be making a ruling on the outcome of Vanuatu's appeal.

FIFA's Olympic regulations state that "protests regarding the eligibility of players shall be decided by the FIFA disciplinary committee in accordance with the FIFA disciplinary code."

However, FIFA says that the rules also state that where an existing tournament, in this case the Pacific Games, doubles as the Olympic qualifying competition, the respective continental federation would be responsible for all organisation.

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