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Anger as back-office bungle cruels A-League transfer


Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett is dismayed at the back-office bungle which resulted in his striker Alex Jones embarking on a fruitless journey to New Zealand.

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A loan deal to the Wellington Phoenix fell over after world body FIFA declined to approve the move.

New Zealand Football failed to complete the online transfer process in time to meet FIFA registration regulations, leaving 21-year-old Jones ineligible to play for the A-League club.

The Phoenix and NZ Football said in a joint statement they were disappointed clearance couldn’t be attained and expressed sympathy towards the player.

Rowett told the Birmingham City club website the lapse was “a slap in the face” for a young player seeking opportunities.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for Alex,” Rowett said.

“He had to wait for a visa for about a week to start with and then he eventually flew over.

“Unfortunately it’s now a bit of a slap in the face that he’s now got to come all the way back.”

Rowett didn’t know the details of the administrative error but says it is frustrating for a Birmingham City under-21 regular who will now need to pursue playing time in the English lower tiers.

He indicated the Phoenix had wanted Jones to stay on and continue training with them.

“They’ve asked if they can have a look at him for a little bit longer, but I think I’ll politely refuse that one and he won’t be doing that.

“It’s a shame for the boy.”

Jones was philosophical in a Twitter post and wished the Phoenix well.

“Not a lot I can say really for obvious reasons, but thanks to all the fans for being so welcoming ever since I arrived,” he wrote.

“It’s a massive shame I was never able to play and put the shirt on! But I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.”

He received support in response from Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante, who told Jones he was “gutted” at the outcome.


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