New Zealand to appeal Olympics decision

New Zealand Football has announced it will challenge a decision by the Oceania Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee which could see the All Whites miss out on the Olympics.

New Zealand beat Vanuatu 2-0 on Friday to advance to the final of the Pacific Games tournament with the winner securing a place in next summer's Games in Rio.

But Vanuatu lodged a protest to the OFC over the eligibility of South Africa born defender Deklan Wynne which was upheld by the governing body, resulting in Vanuatu being handed a 3-0 victory and progress to the final.

"The Oceania Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee has upheld a protest lodged by the Vanuatu Football Federation against New Zealand Football following the OFC Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament Semi-Final on Friday 10 July," read an OFC statement.

"In accordance with Article 7 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes, a member of the New Zealand U-23 squad has been deemed ineligible to represent New Zealand.

"In accordance with Article 13 of the FIFA Regulations for the Olympic Football Tournaments, the Committee has found that New Zealand fielded an ineligible player in the match against Vanuatu held on 10 July 2015.

"Therefore, in accordance with Article 73, paragraph 1 of the OFC Disciplinary Code, the Committee has declared that New Zealand has forfeited the match against Vanuatu with a 0-3 result, and therefore Vanuatu proceed to the final match of the OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament against Fiji."

Fiji won the final to secure Olympic qualification but New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin does not believe that game should have taken place under the circumstances.

A statement from NZF read: "New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin confirmed on Sunday night that the national body have been working with their lawyers throughout the day to challenge the process followed and decision made by Oceania Football Confederation regarding the eligibility of Deklan Wynne for the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Papua New Guinea.

"The decision, which determined Wynne was ineligible due to him acquiring a new nationality under article 7 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes, was reached by an OFC disciplinary committee hearing early on Sunday morning (NZ time) of which New Zealand Football was not aware after being told the matter would be referred to FIFA.

"Martin said given the circumstances regarding the process around the decision, Sunday night's Olympic Qualifying final should have been postponed. Representations have been made to OFC, FIFA and the Pacific Games Council supported by NZ Olympic Committee and Sport New Zealand.

"At this point no response has been received from Oceania Football."

Martin added: "While we firmly believe tonight's match should have been delayed, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that any final decision is only reached after a proper and fair process has been carried out.

"We trust that Oceania Football Confederation will change its position and conduct that proper and fair process."

Source PA Sport