Pacific / Solomon Islands

Sport: Solomons banned for fielding second overage footballer

15:42 pm on 13 December 2019

The Solomon Islands Football Federation has been banned from competing in the next round of Under 17 Men's World Cup qualifying after being found to have fielded a second overage player.

Maxwell Keana was found to have breached the Oceania Football Confederation's Disciplinary Code by playing in five matches during the OFC U16 Championship in September last year, despite having turned 20 almost two months earlier.

Maxwell Keana closes down New Zealand's Matt Garbett during the OFC Under 16 Championship in 2018. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Formal charges had been made against the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) and Keana by the OFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee after it received a written complaint, supported by information, that the player was born in 1998.

Tournament regulations required players to have been born on or after 1 January 2002 however Mr Keana has since admitted he was born in 1998.

The passport he used to enter the OFC competition listed his date of birth as 1 July, 2002.

Maxwell Keana (L) later admitted he used a false passport to enter the OFC Under Championshiop in 2018. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The sanctions come 10 months after OFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee found another member of the Solomon Islands Under 16 team, Chris Satu, had been born prior to 1 January, 2002.

The country initially forfeited all five games Satu appeared in at the tournament, meaning the Solomons lost their qualifying berth for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup.

However, the Solomon Islands Football Federation won an appeal against that disqualification which was backed by the Court of Arbitration.

Solomon Islands, who finished second at the Oceania Championship, subsequently failed to win a game at the World Cup, where they represented Oceania alongside New Zealand.

Chris Satu Photo: SIFF Media

Keana and his family had lodged a complaint after the player was removed from the Solomon Islands squad before the team left for Brazil.

The player has been suspended from playing football matches in the Oceania region and from representing Solomon Islands or a club team in an international match for the next 12 months.

The Solomon Islands Football Federation has been fined $NZ10,000 and barred from entering a team in the next OFC Men's Under 17 World Cup qualifying tournament, which is due to take place next year.