NZ loses appeal against Olympic football ejection

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) The Oceania Football Confederation has rejected New Zealand's appeal against disqualification from the region's Olympic qualifying tournament for using an ineligible player.

New Zealand's under-23 team was ejected from the tournament in Papua New Guinea in July after its semifinal opponent, Vanuatu, protested that South African-born defender Deklan Wynne did not meet FIFA eligibility regulations.

Vanuatu was awarded New Zealand's place in the tournament final in which it lost to Fiji which will represent Oceania at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

Wynne, 20, was declared ineligible for New Zealand because he didn't meet FIFA's requirement of having lived in an adoptive nation for five years.

He moved to New Zealand with his family at the age of 14 and does not become eligible for New Zealand until 2018.

New Zealand claimed Wynne was eligible under Article Six, which allows players to represent a country other than the one in which they were born if they have lived in that country continuously for two years. But that article was held to pertain to players of dual nationality.

New Zealand argued that its squad for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which was part of the 2015 Pacific Games, was approved in advance by the Pacific Games Council, so it believed all players were eligible, but that was rejected.

Football New Zealand chief executive Andy Martin said a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is being considered.