FIFA probes NZ over Durante eligibility

Player in question ... Andrew Durante (Getty Images)

FIFA launched disciplinary proceedings against New Zealand amid claims that it fielded an ineligible player, Andrew Durante, in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

However, world football's governing body said the result of the probe will not affect New Zealand's campaign to reach next year's finals in Brazil, given that it finished streets ahead of all its rivals.

FIFA did not name the player whose eligibility was in dispute at the match with the Solomon Islands on 26 March, when the All Whites wrapped up Oceania region qualifying with a 2-0 away win.

It seemed all but certain, however, that it was referring to Australia-born defender Andrew Durante.

Having only received his New Zealand citizenship just weeks earlier, Durante failed to make his All Whites debut against New Caledonia at home on 22 March, pending FIFA confirmation that he met all the eligibility criteria.

He made his debut in the Solomon Islands match.

New Zealand has been asked to set out its position and provide any appropriate documentary evidence, FIFA said.

The All Whites finished top in round three of the Oceania qualifying race, a full six points clear of second-placed New Caledonia.

That guaranteed it a berth in November's home-and-away play-off against the fourth placed team from North, Central America and the Caribbean, regardless of the result of the disciplinary proceedings, FIFA underlined.

Oceania, the weakest of the six FIFA confederations, does not have an automatic slot at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Source AFP