Phoenix denied women's team after officials refuse eligibility rule change - report

The Wellington Phoenix have reportedly had their proposal for a women’s team dashed at the final hurdle by Football Federation Australia.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni. Source: Photosport

NZME reports the Phoenix were set to announce the team on Thursday, adding the squad would’ve featured in the upcoming W-League season which starts late next month.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni was reportedly in line to coach the club team with Football New Zealand on board with the team’s creation, believing it to be a vital pathway for women’s football in New Zealand.

However, NZME reports Football Federation Australia and its CEO James Johnson have grounded those plans by blocking a change in the league’s regulations which would have New Zealand players classified as Australians for the competition.

Such regulations already exist in the men’s version of the competition – the A-League – with the Phoenix currently boasting 11 New Zealanders in their 20-strong roster.

However, in the W-League clubs are currently only allowed five foreign players, meaning a Wellington Phoenix women’s side would only be allowed five New Zealanders while the rest would be Australian.

With that in mind, the Phoenix aren’t continuing with Thursday’s announcement as they don’t want a New Zealand club to feature predominantly Australian talent.