Alex Jones

The New Zealand career of Birmingham City striker Alex Jones ended before it began Tuesday after the necessary transfer papers were not filed on time, officials confirmed. 

New Zealand Football (NZF) applied to the FIFA Player Status Committee to approve the deal even though the February 2 deadline had been missed, but the world governing body rejected the short-term loan transfer.

“While FIFA acknowledged the individual circumstances at NZF which led to the delay of Alex’s transfer, they have ruled to protect the integrity of their global deadlines for the transfer of players,” NZF competitions manager Daniel Farrow said. 

“Given the unfortunate circumstances, we are obviously disappointed at the outcome for both Alex and the Wellington Phoenix.” 

Jones, who had been training with the Australian A-League’s Wellington Phoenix, will now return to England.

New Zealand media reports said Phoenix sent the required paperwork to the NZF offices on January 30, three days before the deadline, but there has been no explanation from NZF for the subsequent delay. 

It is the second time NZF have fallen foul of FIFA regulations in the past year. 

Seven months ago, New Zealand lost the chance to go to the Rio Olympics when they were ejected from the final of the Oceania men’s qualifying tournament for fielding an ineligible player. – Agence France-Presse

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