Soccer: Sky's not the limit for plucky villagers

By Anendra Singh


They are the only undefeated team after five rounds so why are they perched on the second rung of the soccer table on the Central Football website?

If you weren't up to speed then the word is Best Travel Havelock North Wanderers have lost three points from the opening-game 1-0 victory over Cape Physio Taradale for fielding an ineligible player in the ComputerCare Pacific Premiership.

"We made attempts to transfer a player two weeks before the season started so we're not sure what went wrong with all the things that happened along the way and between that time," says Wanderers coach Bruce Barclay, whose troops have won on grass but lost in the boardroom.

"We appealed to Central Soccer but it was turned down," Barclay lamented.

Taradale did not lodge a protest against the former Cru Bar Maycenvale United player, Bjorn Christensen.

Havelock North's last avenue for redress is New Zealand Football but the cost of $500, after $150 a pop with Central Football, is a deterrent.

"It is before our club board but I can't demand that appeal because, as you know, clubs here don't have much money to spend," says Barclay, not predicting what the club board will rule.

The Wanderers are relieved the hiccup came in their first game of the season despite the disappointment of losing three points.

"Our fate is still in our hands so we've moved on to put it behind us to focus on the future," he says of the villagers.

Central Football Eastern operations manager Phil Holt says he didn't want to discuss the details of the case but they had handled it appropriately.

"The player was ineligible, they appealed and it was turned down," Holt says.

Central Football chief executive John McGifford had also looked at the appeal and felt the appropriate action had been taken.

Holt says Taradale hadn't lodged a protest but he had acted on it.

"I happened to be watching that game. I didn't know what the player looked like but they were calling out his name, so that's how I knew he was playing."

Holt says Havelock North made an administrative error on the transfer process of the player.

"We've been at pains for years in telling clubs to make sure all the players are correctly registered."

Taradale coach Robbie Parker, who is a police officer like Barclay, says he first discovered Central Football had reversed the result on the website when a teammate sent him a text.

"Bruce and I work together in Hastings and he apologised to me straight away, saying they [Havelock] had not done it [fielded an ineligible player] on purpose and I accepted that.

"We certainly didn't deserve three points from that game for various reasons that day but we'll go with the Central Football rules and, sheepishly, take it," Parker says.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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