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Mar 20, 2013

All Whites soccer limbo 'strange': Durante

All White-in-waiting Andrew Durante admits he finds the reasons for his international soccer limbo hard to fathom.

The Australian-born Durante, who has taken out New Zealand citizenship, was picked in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against New Caledonia in Dunedin.

But New Zealand Football (NZF) has reluctantly decided that the 30-year-old won't make his debut on Friday night while they seek to remove all doubt over his eligibility.

The uncertainty relates to the criterion of residency over the past five years.

NZF says he has fulfilled the New Zealand legal requirement, but has been unable to get world governing body FIFA to make a ruling.

"I can't understand why they can't look at all my information and say 'yes, he passes all that criteria - he can play'," Durante said.

Instead, he said, FIFA had effectively told NZF: 'If you think he passes, then play him, and then if there's a dispute, we'll look at it'.

"That's quite strange."

NZF high performance director Fred de Jong said he had further contact with FIFA on Wednesday night but the situation remained unresolved.

De Jong spoke to All Whites coach Ricki Herbert on Thursday morning and the decision was made not to consider Durante for the New Caledonia match.

An assessment would be made after the game over the Wellington Phoenix skipper's involvement in New Zealand's final fixture of the Oceania qualifying phase, away to the Solomon Islands on Tuesday.

De Jong said Durante had needed to satisfy three criteria under FIFA rules relating to a player acquiring a new nationality: citizenship, not having played for another country and having lived in New Zealand for five years.

There was no concern over the first two.

But there was uncertainty over the third, which Durante had met under New Zealand law requiring residency of 1350 days over five years and 240 in each of those years.

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