The appeal of New Zealand Football (NZF) against its men’s under-23 team’s expulsion from last month’s Olympic qualification tournament at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby will be considered early next week, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has confirmed.
The All Whites were thrown out of the competition in Papua New Guinea’s capital after a protest made by semi-final opponents Vanuatu over the eligibility of South African-born Deklan Wynne was upheld at a disciplinary hearing on July 12.
Vanuatu, who were handed a 3-0 walkover win despite succumbing to a 2-0 defeat in their last-four encounter, went on to play Fiji in the final later that same day, losing 4-3 on penalties at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
In response to the NZF’s filing of an appeal against the decision late last month, the OFC's Appeals Committee is set to convene on Monday and Tuesday (August 24 and 25) in Auckland.
"Under Article 96 of the OFC Disciplinary Code, the members of the judicial bodies must ensure that everything disclosed to them during the course of their duty remains confidential, including the facts of the case, contents of deliberations and decisions taken," read an OFC statement.
"In light of this, the hearing will be in closed session."
The OFC's Disciplinary Committee ruled that Wynne was ineligible to compete due to him acquiring a new nationality under Article 7 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes, but NZF argue Wynne's eligibility falls under Article 6.
Wynne has already represented New Zealand at under-20 and senior level after becoming a naturalised Kiwi.
The left-back, 20, who was not born in the country and does not have a New Zealand parent or grandparent, would have to have lived in the country for five years from the age of 18 to be eligible, but is not old enough to have done so.
If NZF loses the appeal, the only remaining option in a bid to resurrect New Zealand's Olympic campaign for Rio 2016 would be to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
NZF is continuing its detailed review of the internal processes and eligibility information for all players.
This includes members of its men’s under-17 squad, which is the subject of a complaint received by the OFC.
It is claimed that New Zealand used ineligible players to win the Under-17 World Cup qualifying tournament in Samoa and American Samoa earlier this year.
NZF has asked the OFC to deal with the enquiry after the Olympic appeal.
August 2015: New Zealand Football files appeal over expulsion from Olympic qualification tournament
July 2015: Oceania Football Confederation appoints leading New Zealand solicitor as Olympic row rumbles on
July 2015: FIFA "will not intervene" in New Zealand Olympics row
July 2015: Olympic qualification expulsion "really embarrassing" admits New Zealand Football chief executive
July 2015: New Zealand Football to lodge appeal over expulsion from Olympic qualification tournament