New Zealand Football boss Andy Martin has confirmed that 13 players have refused to play for the Football Ferns under coach Andreas Heraf's leadership.
This comes after NZ Football this afternoon announced a review into the scandal surrounding Heraf, as previously reported by the Herald.
Heraf has been given a notice of investigation and is on special leave, after NZ Football received a letter from the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA) with a number of complaints from Football Ferns players. Another letter followed from a previous staff member.
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Martin confirmed that 13 players have said they will not play for the Football Ferns as long as Heraf remains coach.
"The latest that have come in officially through the PFA have absolutely implied that they don't want to play for the Ferns under Andreas' leadership.
"This was a shock. Absolutely."
Martin denied having any prior knowledge about the scandal surrounding Heraf, despite supposedly receiving a report from a former Football Ferns team manager back in March.
However, eyebrows were raised when Martin clarified that the report he received was from the technical director (Heraf himself) with input about the complaints from the former team manager.
"There was no indication of that at all," Martin said about the report he received in March, which was compiled by Heraf.
"The report was from the technical director, which is a compilation of all of his team's inputs.
"In that technical report, there was no mention at all about the need for a review."
Martin's answers prompted questions about potential conflicts of interest within NZ Football, especially for Heraf who is both the coach of the Football Ferns and NZF technical director.
When asked if this was a conflict, Martin replied: "That's your interpretation.
"[Assistant coach Gareth Turnbull] would've been involved in compiling that report so I'm not sure that's the issue here."
NZF president Deryck Shaw said he was disappointed in the comments they've received but no action on Heraf's future will be made until after the review is completed.
"We are very disappointed to be in a position where some of the players from within the Football Ferns have felt the need to formally lodge a complaint with NZ Football and would like to thank them for coming forward.
"There's a process. The review will determine [Heraf's future]. I think it's important the review runs its course."