NZ Football to stay in the Oceania confederation

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 11:50 26/06/2014
Storm Roux
Photosport
STAYING PUT: All Whites defender Storm Roux in action during last month's friendly match against South Africa in Auckland.

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New Zealand Football will remain part of the Oceania Football Confederation indefinitely, says chief executive Andy Martin. 

Since Australia moved out of the OFC for the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, debate has consistently recurred over whether New Zealand should follow in order to guarantee stronger international tests, particularly for the national men's team.

The AFC has usually been the confederation linked to any potential move but bizarrely, a report today, which claimed to have an association to a worldwide news agency, alleged NZF was about to join the South American football confederation, CONMEBOL.

The report also attributed supposed comment, and confirmation of the development, from Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

However, Martin, who met with Fifa executives at the World Cup in Brazil days ago, unequivocally dismissed the report and any suggestion NZF will exit the OFC whatsoever.

"I know nothing about this move at all, it's all absolutely news to me," Martin told Fairfax Media.

"It's nothing we were expecting or were aware of. It must be something lost in translation, I don't understand what it is. 

"The qualification path to the World Cup is what we've been talking to Fifa about and that will come out as part of the [presidential] election campaign, probably about March 2015."

In fact, Martin says NZF needs to work even more closely with the OFC and both Fifa and the OFC need New Zealand to represent the world's sixth confederation at the biggest level.

"I don't think there's an appetite for any more teams to move from Oceania," Martin said.

"We're keen to play a stronger role in Oceania and it's something you'll start seeing more of.

"Having a World Cup with only five of the confederations represented is not something that Oceania like, nor indeed Fifa want."

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