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as Ferns coach has now reached boil­ing point with at least 10 play­ers writ­ing a com­plaint de­tail­ing their con­cerns around the lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism devel­op­ing in the squad.

Heraf, who is also NZF’S tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, came un­der heavy crit­i­cism fol­low­ing his team’s re­cent 3-1 loss to Ja­pan, af­ter say­ing they adopted an ul­tra­de­fen­sive ap­proach, as they ‘‘could have lost 8-0’’ had they been more pos­i­tive, play­ing a team they ‘‘will never have [the] qual­ity to com­pete with’’. How­ever it is un­der­stood their con­cerns go deeper than on-field tac­tics.

It was re­vealed yes­ter­day that NZF is de­lib­er­ately flout­ing a Fifa di­rec­tive by em­ploy­ing An­dreas Heraf as both na­tional women’s coach and tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

Fifa say the two posts are ‘‘in­com­pat­i­ble’’, but Heraf has been do­ing both jobs since De­cem­ber and in­tends to con­tinue un­til af­ter the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

NZF was aware of the Fifa guide­line, con­tained in its of­fi­cial hand­book for tech­ni­cal di­rec­tors, when it made the de­ci­sion to ap­point Heraf – who be­came tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor last April – as Foot­ball Ferns coach when Tony Read­ings re­signed.

The tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor’s hand­book talks about the job be­ing about es­tab­lish­ing a ‘‘long-term vi­sion’’ for the game, not fo­cus­ing on spe­cific re­sults, and says: ‘‘It must be noted that the po­si­tion of tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor and se­nior na­tional team coach are in­com­pat­i­ble: the se­nior na­tional team coach pre­pares the next game, whereas the tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor pre­pares the fu­ture of foot­ball in the coun­try.’’

One for­mer se­nior New Zealand foot­ball of­fi­cial said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had al­ways been aware it shouldn’t com­bine the roles.

‘‘It was clear that a high per­for­mance role was one about re­search­ing best prac­tice and im­ple­ment­ing sys­tems: it should not be about coach­ing per se.

‘‘Com­bin­ing the two roles is ridicu­lous – it reeks of sav­ing money. So does the Ferns coach re­port to him­self?’’

Mean­while, one of New Zealand’s lead­ing foot­ball acad­e­mies is ask­ing for a "please ex­plain" from NZF as it con­tem­plates its play­ers’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in age­group teams.

The Ole Foot­ball Acad­emy, based in Porirua, near Welling­ton, has taken the step of con­tact­ing the na­tional body to out­line its con­cerns about the di­rec­tion NZF is head­ing un­der Heraf.

Ole chair­man Dave Wil­son said he had writ­ten to NZF chief ex­ec­u­tive Andy Martin on Mon­day for a ‘‘please ex­plain’’ about the changes NZF has made to its strate­gic coach­ing di­rec­tion.

Ole tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor De­clan Edge, a for­mer All White, said their stance was be­ing guided by the play­ers, who did not want to at­tend NZF camps.

‘‘They’re all try­ing to get out of the camps. No­body wants to go to the camps.

‘‘I’m not hav­ing an is­sues with any of the play­ers want­ing to go to the camps, it’s the op­po­site. That’s in­clud­ing play­ers we work with in full na­tional teams, down to the 17s, in­clud­ing the 17s girls.’’

Play­ers who had gone to camps came back with very neg­a­tive re­ports, Edge said.

One was un­der­stood to be con­tem­plat­ing switch­ing al­le­giance to a coun­try which they held dual cit­i­zen­ship with, such was their dis­may at the foot­ball they were be­ing asked to play.

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