Central United’s promotion to the Lotto NRFL Northern Conference will go ahead, forcing a rescheduling of two competitions.
A ruling by the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand, has overturned a decision by Northern Region Football that ruled Central were ineligible for promotion because of their Memorandum of Understanding and close ties with Auckland City.
Central were replaced in the Northern Conference by Oratia United, who were relegated from last season’s Lotto NRFL second division.
READ MORE: Relegated Oratia United get reprieve as Central United miss Conference spot >>>>
NRF says their decision was “based on sound football reasons and fairness to all clubs.”
NRF: ‘Focus is now on delivering the season’
In a briefing to clubs, NRF CEO Laura Menzies said:
“However, the organisation accepts the Sports Tribunal’s decision and will now focus on delivering the 2023 season.
“Providing quality competitions is at the heart of what NRF delivers our clubs, and we acknowledge the disruption for the teams affected.”
The 2023 LOTTO NRFL Northern Conference will become a nine-team competition and NRF League One will become a six-team competition.
Tribunal: ‘… the decision was not reasonable’
Announcing its decision, the Sports Tribunal said:
“The Sports Tribunal has ordered that Central United Football Club Incorporated (Central) be promoted to the Lotto NRFL Northern Conference 2023 following a dispute between the club and Northern Region Football (Northern) about the decision not to promote them despite having won the NRF League One competition in 2022.
“Northern were unable to provide concrete reasons for not promoting Central and the Tribunal concluded the decision was not reasonable.”
READ MORE: Download the full decision by the Sports Tribunal >>>>