New Zealand Football confirmed today the FIFA Player Status Committee had declined the application to approve the short-term loan transfer of Alex Jones from Birmingham City to the Wellington Phoenix.
Phoenix fans had hoped the decision would be overturned but that was never likely. FIFA, for all their corruption and opulence at the top, run a really tight operational ship. They need to, running the world’s biggest sport that is becoming increasingly interwoven. A transfer window is a transfer window. It stays the same every year and there can be no exceptions. No special incompetency exemptions.
Imagine if, say Real Madrid was given an exemption.
This is an extraordinary administrative blunder from an organisation specialising in it, and given its systematic roots, it is time for the buck to stop at the top.
From what we can gather the Phoenix did their side of the paperwork four days before the end of the window which, by global standards, is quite early. But that happened to coincide with a holiday and a weekend and, as we know from the Glenn Moss appeal prior to the 2010 World Cup, when NZ Football shuts down it does it properly.
The level of failure is comprehensive. It turns out there was one person only who had the ability, authority and access to process such a request. That in itself is mind-blowing.
It then turns out that person was away for three days, and out of Internet access. Those three days being the final days of the international transfer window. A window that occurs twice a year. It is like someone selling turkeys taking December off.
Your local service station would not have a single point of failure like that.
And all of this occurring less than a month after All Whites coach Anthony Hudson bemoaned the fact that football in this country goes to the beach for a month over Xmas. Andy Martin was of course in Hawaii at the time, but he would have heard about it. This is a clear indication of how much notice he took.
The losers are Jones himself, who will hopefully never have to endure another fortnight like that, NZ football fans and the Wellington Phoenix. The Phoenix have to walk on egg-shells when dealing with FFA; the almost active interference run by their own national governing body is bizarre.
Demanding the CEO resign is probably overdone when there is a stuff-up. It is the domain of back bench opposition MPs around the world.
However, following the eligibility saga where Fred de Jong was chucked under the bus but no real accountability acknowledged, it is an appropriate demand now. Andy Martin; please go back to Flat 127 Nelson Mandela House, Peckham.
Confirming the demand is the fact that Martin was nowhere to be seen today. Instead it was Competitions Manager Daniel Farrow who had to explain the unexplainable. Football in this country deserves so much better.