Wellington - The New Zealand career of Birmingham City
striker Alex Jones ended before it began Tuesday after the necessary transfer
papers were not filed on time, officials confirmed.
New Zealand Football (NZF) applied to the FIFA Player Status
Committee to approve the deal even though the February 2 deadline had been
missed, but the world governing body rejected the short-term loan transfer.
"While FIFA acknowledged the individual circumstances
at NZF which led to the delay of Alex's transfer, they have ruled to protect
the integrity of their global deadlines for the transfer of players," NZF
competitions manager Daniel Farrow said.
"Given the unfortunate circumstances, we are obviously
disappointed at the outcome for both Alex and the Wellington Phoenix."
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Jones, who had been training with the Australian A-League's
Wellington Phoenix, will now return to England.
New Zealand media reports said Phoenix sent the required
paperwork to the NZF offices on January 30, three days before the deadline, but
there has been no explanation from NZF for the subsequent delay.
It is the second time NZF have fallen foul of FIFA
regulations in the past year.
Seven months ago, New Zealand lost the chance to go to the
Rio Olympics when they were ejected from the final of the Oceania men's
qualifying tournament for fielding an ineligible player.For
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