It is complex. As you would expect when there is an issue involving international football, New Zealand football, player eligibility, and FIFA.
There are not many black and whites in this situation, and all of those mentioned above don’t come out of it smelling of roses.
A lot of the disappointment expressed over the last 72 hours has been aimed at Football New Zealand, and for good reason. Nobody likes a litigant, and that has been the first recourse of NZF. They mucked up; not through any intentional deviousness, but because of old-fashioned incompetence.
They can bang on about “we acted in good faith” all they like, but when it comes to rules and regulations good faith is really no excuse.
FIFA’s Article 7 is pretty brutal, but is there for a reason. It is to stop wealthy nations; Qatar for example, doing the modern day Slave Trade thing of roaming around third world countries seeking out talented 16 year olds and tying them in to their new homeland. However Article 6 seems a lot more lenient.
In the case of Deklan Wynne it would appear this was not the case; he and his parents was just another family relocating to the North Shore of Auckland. It happens every day. Rules like this can be appealed though, and NZF would have had a good case in getting dispensation for Wynne had they applied for it in advance.
And that is where NZF got it wrong. They may say that he played in the recent U20 World Cup, but that was only because he was never challenged. FIFA only looks at these things when a complaint is made.
That is not to say that all of the blame lies with NZF. The FIFA Article 6 vs Article 7 discrepancy is, at best, sloppy. It seems to now be a game of paper / scissors / rock to see which Article is the greatest. And why Article 7 insists that the five year residency must be done after the player turns 18 does not scream out with a lot of logic.
Although a side-show to the whole affair there is also some stench around OFC and how the whole issue arose. A complaint after a semi-final with no recourse for a challenge is shabby, and you have to wonder who tipped Vanuatu off, and why.
It is clear there is no love lost between OFC and NZF and that has been lingering for a lot longer than New Zealand voting against Sepp Blatter in the recent election.
So now, a bit like the Americas Cup, we are off to the courts. Mai Chen in one corner, whoever Andy Martin can find in the other. A war of technicalities around which Article is the biggest Article
One thing for sure is that the career of Deklan Wynne will now be followed very closely. A bit like, say, Jean-Marc Bosman.