FIFA approval too late for New Zealand Rio hopes

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Wellington - A South African-born footballer at the centre of New Zealand's derailed bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics was on Friday given permission to resume playing for his adopted country.

FIFA has granted a dispensation for Deklan Wynne to represent New Zealand "with immediate effect", New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin said.

"We are pleased this situation has finally been resolved and that Deklan is now free to represent New Zealand. We wish him well as he returns to his club to continue his football career," said Martin.

New Zealand's Rio hopes were dashed last July just hours before they were to play Fiji in the Oceania Olympic qualifying final when it emerged they had illegally fielded Wynne in their semi-final victory over Vanuatu.

The 20-year-old had not fulfilled the requirements of Article 7 of the FIFA Statutes, which state that to become eligible a player must live in his adopted nation for five years after turning 18.

Fiji will head to Rio as Oceania's Olympic representatives, a position previously filled by New Zealand at the Beijing and London Games.

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