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Summer’s here! No, really…

NZ Under 17 Selection 0, Mainland Pride 3
Northern Football 4, Football South 0
Parrs Park, Auckland, October 13 2013

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Ordinarily there’s not much to celebrate when it comes to being a football fan in this country. There was a time in the lead-up to a recent World Cup, when Antarctica and New Zealand were the only two pieces of dry land in the entire world where the games were not going to be shown on television, until Sky came to the party and secured the rights at the last minute, as almost always. Football fans get treated with utter disdain here by the other 95% of the general public. We’re the lowest of the low, bottom of the pile, beneath contempt, the pond scum of the sporting pecking order. But there is one thing we have got that nobody else has – a little thing called zero offseason! That’s right my international readers, we have football 52 weeks of the year, every year, and you don’t. Beat that! You can’t. So there.

So as the winter season ends* with last week’s Northern Regional Football League promotion play-off, the summer** season begins this week with the opening double header of the ASB Women’s League.

I have to say, although I know this is not going to win me too many popularity contests, that with this new truly national format that sees last year’s Northern and Southern Conferences banished to the dustbin of history, and the absolute quality of some of the names spread across the eight squad lists, this, not the ASB Premiership, is now New Zealand’s premier summer football competition.

This is reflected in my schedule of games I plan to visit each weekend for the next two months. A fortnight ago I looked at each weekend’s fixture list for both women’s and men’s national leagues between now and December, and chose each destination on its merits with no particular prejudice in mind. Then, when I sat back and looked at the end result, I found that I’m exclusively watching the Women’s League from now until November 23. I thought: “no, I can’t do that, I believe in gender equality”, so I went back over the ASB Premiership fixtures to find a token men’s game to throw in so as not to appear so much of a raving feminist. But I couldn’t, for the life of me, find a men’s game in that timeframe that I could give two hoots about. So I left it how it is.

Because the reality is, the Women’s League looks like an interesting spectator’s competition with evenly matched teams and none that stand out as likely to run away with the title. I want to know what is going to happen, and I want to watch it happen. Unlike with the ASB Premiership, where everyone knows exactly who is going to win it before we even start.

I will be covering some ASB Premiership games, of course. But not many until the Women’s League is done and dusted, I’m afraid.

As for today, well, others will give you a much better blow-by-blow account of what went down than I can in the word quota that’s left after the above rant. All I’ll say is, Mainland were good – very good. The addition of Annalie Longo looks to have strengthened their squad considerably and I reckon last year’s semi-finalists will do at least as well again. The U17s meanwhile are obviously a development side, and while they held their own most of the time, the Cantabrians simply had too much class.

The other game wasn’t as high quality, somewhat surprisingly. Northern Football, last season’s champions, still boast an impressive line-up of players (as well as a very fetching kit emblazoned in finest Palermo colours!) but they looked a bit flat today. They were slow starters last year, so perhaps they will take time to get into their work again. They will certainly be happy to play so poorly and still win 4-0! Football South on the other hand definitely have a bit of work to do and may struggle all season if today was anything to go on. I don’t believe I’ve seen any of their squad play before so have to give them the benefit of the doubt at this stage and hope it was just an off-day.

In other results today, Auckland fell to Capital 3-0 in Wellington and WaiBOP snatched a last minute equaliser to draw 2-2 with Central. Next Sunday, at 1pm, I’ll be in Cambridge for WaiBOP vs Capital – So. Should. You! Unless you live in Whangarei, in which case you should check out Northern Football vs the U17s at Toll Stadium, same kick-off time. If you’re in Christchurch, Mainland plays Central on the turf of ASB Football Park at 2pm, and in Dunedin you can and should see whether Football South or Auckland can redeem themselves at the Caledonian Ground at midday. If you are inside the territorial waters of New Zealand and not at one of those four places next Sunday, then you’d better bloody well have a note from home because this is compulsory viewing if you call yourself a football fan.

And that’s that.

*Maybe not quite ended – there’s a rumour that Auckland Football Federation are investigating an allegation that Fury fielded an ineligible player…

**Still freezing cold and drizzly FYI

Categories: NZ Women's National League

Tagged as:

Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

43 replies

  1. Not true. I have it on good authority that a desperate Kura and a few jealous types not liking competition are claiming Fury were over the Guest Player limit.

    They are not.

    Foreign sounding names do not make a Guest Player.

    Don’t many clubs have players of foreign sounding names ?

    Don’t Kura have 5 or 6 foreign sounding names ?

    Isn’t the British/Kiwi sounding name of a player from overseas equally a foreigner in football terms ?

    Check the phone book. Heaps of foreign names of people who are actually “Kiwis”.

    Plus understand the Guest Player rule properly people.

    Even though the Guest Player rule is outdated I know Fury well enough to know they have not breached it.

    1. Hi Mackay, thanks for your comment. I wasn’t suggesting that the allegations were true, only that I had heard a rumour that allegations are being investigated. Something that now appears to have been confirmed by AFF:

      I hope Fury are cleared because they will clearly add some colour and interest to the NRFL, and that will be good for the league in my view. I also suspect Kura would prefer to win promotion on the pitch, rather than in the protest room.

      1. It was Kura who protested prompted by Tauranga City United who have spent all season on Fury’s case because they are scared of competition.

  2. ok MacKay can you confirm that when Fury signs a new player from overseas that they do not go through the International Transfer process most other (if not all) clubs go through.
    I was told he just registers these players as new players and therefore bypasses the “Guest Player” rule.

    1. I have enquired.

      Fury seek international clearances where appropriate.

      Fury used 12 players this past season that were “local” players.

      Separately, International clearances are not required for players who have not played affiliated football.

      The Guest Player reg was aimed at top professional players who used to be brought to NZ to “guest” for some weeks or more and not the average Joe on his OE.

      Fury are probably the one club that do things correctly. Other clubs sign on players from overseas as “new” players as a matter of policy when some of those players should have been subject to ITCs because they have played professionally at some time.

      Such players then move on to a new club and even play ASB having never been eligible to play in NZ.

      The only reason Fury are under scrutiny is because of the vindictive nature of some people in the game who instead of getting on with progressing their own club spend their time trying to stop others.

      One could ask why are Fury being hit upon and not scores of other clubs who have players from overseas signed on as new players as a matter of policy without a thought to ITCs.

      Back to the Guest Player reg. Fury have not breached it (players subject to ITC were signed on that way) but it should be scrapped because it is not relevant anymore and is virtually impossible to police anyway. Mainly, it is irrelevant these days. Top pros are not brought here anymore. The money such players earn these days is way beyond the scope of NZ clubs.

      Another aspect to the Guest Player reg is that it does not, cannot, cover the fact that in some overseas countries football is affiliated top to bottom but not so in other countries.

      A few of the players used by Fury this past season have never even played for a club before.

      Most of these type of players are not good players. Some can be fitted in to a team structure. One thing is certain, they bring a passion, fees are paid to the Federations and they top up numbers to allow locals to play.

      Certain areas of NZ have more working holiday people than others. Seasonal work locations eg kiwifruit ( where Fury are located), vineyard regions such as Wairarapa and many stay around Auckland for a while.

      It is not a flood because there is quota allowed each year.

      All clubs have to rely on the player telling them accurately about their playing history so as to determine whether an ITC is required or not.

      There is no mechanism for clubs to check because to seek an ITC one has to name a club from which to obtain the ITC so if the player has not played for a club in affiliated football an ITC cannot be obtained and nor is relevant.

      NZ benefits greatly from the presence of these football mad people in a rugby mad country.

      There is nothing untoward and should continue to be embraced as all clubs do when these people turn up for training.

      Fury is clean not so many other clubs. Fact.

      Ask away.

      1. One further point is that two of the players named were signed from Tauranga City United who in their wisdom did not seek ITCs due to club policy it is said.

        As it happens those two players were not subject to ITCs.

        It is known that at least two Auckland clubs have signed on ex pros from overseas as new players and those players moved on to other clubs to play ASB and NRFL Premier League or NRFL lower league. They are the type of player who should have been subject to ITCs.

        Again, Fury has operated correctly.

        1. interesting, I am glad you explained it in such detail as my club have always seeked itc’s as a matter of course and in the last season were told we had to do one for a 17, 15, 12 and 10 year old who wished to transfer in. the whole thing seems farcical.

          1. The current Guest Player reg ( notice the word. ” guest ” not import and not ” player from overseas “) states “and if the player requires an ITC to play in NZ “.

            Therefore , if a player does not require an ITC he is not a Guest Player .

            You see , the Guest Player reg goes back to the days when the likes of a Paul Ifill or Chris Greenacre were brought here to play in the National League .

            Not going to happen these days with those guys earning 300, 400, 500k !

  3. Mackay, I just want to thank you for this discussion and for your openness on the topic. It is very illuminating! Are you aware of where the AFF is at with this? Have they done their investigation and found there are no issues, or are they yet to get back to you? If the latter, have they given a time-frame?

    1. No resolution and no time frame I’m told.

      I can tell you this. There is apparently evidence that AFF lied to Fury regarding a coin toss to decide which team played at home in the first leg in that Fury was meant to be present but were not invited.

      Once AFF were found out lying they quickly organised a new coin toss and invited Fury to it.

      Makes one wonder what they will try next.

      1. What needs to happen in NZ is that the clubs form an association as did the English
        clubs many years ago when they broke away from the FA and formed the Football League.

        It is the clubs which provide the base income. It is the clubs that possess the knowledge. It is the clubs that have the passion to drive NZ football forward.

        1. Once formed, the Clubs should then approach FIFA with regard to taking over the New Zealand affiliation and provide all the reasons why that should occur,

          1. At present the Federations rule over the clubs instead of working for the clubs. It is the latter which provide all the ingredients for football in this country.

  4. It’s almost November and I have it on good authority that this investigation has been taken away from AFF and is now in the hands of NZF and is still very much alive. This leads me to believe that maybe Fury are not out of the woods by a long shot. For it to be going this long there must be some credence to the allegations and is being taken very seriously. The regulations may be outdated but they are still there and must be adhered to. If Fury are cleared then fair enough but rest assured NZF will find the skeletons in the cupboard if they’re there.

    1. There are no skeletons.

      Fury have followed the regulations as they are to the letter and have been supported by its Federation in doing so.

      Look forward to the outcome as will many other clubs in the same situation.

    2. Mr or Mrs Winner.

      The fact it is taking so long also means the case against Fury is not clear cut.

      Things will always take longer when the alleged transgression is not obviously apparent.

      Fury will be cleared.

      It’s just an attempt to stop a rival progressing.

    1. I think there is a momentum stirring amongst many clubs.

      It has been there for some years and doesn’t go away, just slowly gathers a wee bit of traction.

      It remains to be seen if the prime movers move on from talk to action.

      1. Some clubs pay an amazing amount of money to the Federations and they are questioning what they receive for their money.

        Then they have to put up with what I said in an earlier post ie the Federations ruling over them instead of working for them.

        Is there any other operation in life where the employees rule over the people that pay their wages ?

  5. My experience is the federations are all excellent to deal with, but then I’m not a club. For a breakaway to be successful, everyone or almost everyone would have to be on board and acting in a united way. I’m having some difficulty picturing that. A schism with some clubs breaking away and some staying behind would be disastrous for the game I suspect. England are a great model of club football but their National team is a bit of a disaster area and has been for a very long time…

    1. Don’t disagree with some of what you say.

      You would need to hear what the clubs have to say to have a full balanced view.

      Onward for now !

    2. Just a thought.

      I don’t think anyone could deny that the English Premier League is one of the top leagues in the World generating billions of pounds / dollars.

      That is synonymous with the Clubs that broke away from the FA and formed the Football League.

      The FA control the FA Cup of course which has lost a lot of the allure it once had.

      The FA control the national team as well so maybe that entity should be handed over to the clubs too !

        1. FIFA control that situation. They can be tough on clubs in that respect .

          The same controls that exist now would remain so no worse off and yes maybe no better off but defo no worse off.

    1. Remembering that I am not part of Fury. I just socialise with a few of them so any of what I have said are my views re forming a clubs association.

      I do know a lot about the current player elegiblity matter because it is a hot topic of conversation.

      Fury have followed the regulation to the letter.

      No club can check on overseas players according to the Waibop federation without the name of a club with which to seek an ITC.

      Tauranga City United did not seek ITCs for the two players Fury signed from them.

      Other clubs are in the same boat.

      What would be unfair in my view is if NZF use processes not available to the stakeholder clubs . That’s pretty logical.

  6. Some interesting points raised, so how many “guest players” were in the fury team for the play off games? Also I couldn’t agree more that NZ rules need to be looked at and tidied up.

    1. I watched the games and know the players.

      There were two guest players on the team card ie two players that fell In to that category the way the Guest Player reg is worded.

      Again, the Guest Player reg was never meant to net Juan Nobody of the Cornerstone Pub team from just outside Buenos Aires.

      1. Note Fury have never protested other teams with foreign sounding names.

        Kura have a few. Manukau, Onehunga. Auckland City, many many clubs have them.

        Then there are the clubs with 4, 5, 6 or 7 British players that go unnoticed due to the kiwi sounding names of those players but they are players from overseas just the same as Africans and South Americans.

  7. My knowledge of ITC’s is only from what I have read about this case, so please excuse my ignorance. So the two players signed from TCU didn’t need an ITC because you had signed them from a NZF club or because they had never played before? Im Guessing the two ITC players were No.17 (Lee Garnham i think) & Francisco Lopez Blanco (name I got from match day) as these were the two outstanding performers in the second leg and are definitely from overseas.

    1. No it’s a bit more complex than that.

      And Francisco is not one of the two ITC players. He like the others has never played for a club before. He was outstanding on the day and strong throughout the season. He did not win David Cook’s Club Player of the Year though.

      Garnham is one of the two Guest Players.

      Many of the kiwifruit working travelling players are not good players at all but a few can be put in to a team structure.

  8. Never played before, that was one hell of a find then. Who is the second guest player? and Who did David Cook reward for his seasons efforts?

    1. There are 4 or 5 of them never played for a club in any Federation before but they are football mad being from South America and they play socially 24/7.

      Fury and Waibop are their first affiliated federation football.

      Kiwi kids think they can become footballers with two practises (at most) per week for 6 months of the year.

      Lopez Blanco got two club awards ( one from Cook ) but Cookie found it easy to choose Garnham as his Player of the Year because the only two games Fury lost was when he was out injured (from boxing) whereas when any other players were missing they still won.

  9. You seem reluctant to name the second guest player?
    Outstanding effort from Garnham then.
    So a player not affiliated with a football federation cant get ITC as there is no federation to apply to for it and also to clear it. Right?
    So im guessing this is the case with the 2 players from TCU and other “foreign” sounding surnames?

    Well Mackay thank you for answering my questions. Good luck with this and see you in Northern league next year.

    1. Oh yes Santiago Hassan is the other Guest Player who went to Fury from Three Kings.

      Garnhams ITC was gained by Fury.

    2. Well yes a club can’t get an ITC for a player with no club to get it from. Fury have also been told by Waibop that they can’t ask to check out a player without a club to name. Therefore it would be of concern to any football follower if NZF do exactly that when clubs can’t.

      What should happen is clear.

      Whatever has occurred until those play offs be put in the past and the regulation worded more clearly for the future leaving Fury to proceed to the NRFL. Pretty obvious really.

    3. Oh yes the same for the two from TCU. The latter deemed it not appropriate to obtain ITCs for the same reasons.

      Only one of them two played in the play offs or was on the team card and he defo has not played affiliated football before. And as far as I know the other hasn’t either.

      You see I think I said in a previous post that the Western Bay of Plenty has many of these guys come along to football clubs because if the kiwifruit work that is around. A bit like Wairarapa United and vineyard work.

      Fury signed 7 on the weekend so will have to see what happens now re the guest player wording changes.

      I know they put one of them to Waibop to check out in light of what has just occurred . The guy says he has never played affiliated football . He’s from Chile. He seems honest enough I’m told but Waibop said they can’t / won’t check him out without a club name to go to and of course there isn’t one !

  10. Here’s something interesting.

    David Cook said last night that a player from Fiji who was and still is registered with Fury told him by text message (still saved ) in early July that he had been playing for Papakura.

    That is a blatant breach of the rules/regs unlike the current Fury situation which is some people protesting and not reading / understanding the Guest Player reg correctly. The Fury players are all correctly registered.

    Mr Cook said he has seen registered Fury players playing for other clubs a number of times over the years and never complained or protested to the Federations, preferring to inform the offending club and give them the chance of fixing up the situation.

    He says clubs should not run around trying to catch out other clubs given that most are doing their best and volunteers can make mistakes.

    A pity Tauranga City United and Papakura don’t have the same outlook I say.

    1. To be clear. The above mentioned player from Fiji was registered with Fury when he played for Papakura and still is registered with Fury.

      He returned to Fiji some weeks or more ago.

  11. Mate I know this stuff inside out .

    It’s too late anyway. Any protest has to be within 72 hours of a particular game.

    Take the Papakura thing.

    They lost both games but only protested one of them within the 72 hours.

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