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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Jets fume over Phoenix match switch

The Newcastle Jets are angry that Football Federation Australia (FFA) has agreed to a Wellington Phoenix request to bring forward their A-League game because of a clash with the All Whites' World Cup Oceania qualifying matches in March.

The match scheduled for March 23 at Westpac Stadium would have been sandwiched between New Zealand games against New Caledonia on March 22 and Solomons Islands on March 26.

It will now be played at the same venue on Wednesday February 27 with a 7.30pm kick-off.

But the rescheduling means the Jets have three games in 10 days and coach Gary van Egmond said the FFA decision was "insulting", the Herald Sun reports.

It says the switch comes despite the FFA refusing to switch two other games in similar circumstances and refusing a Jets offer to play the Phoenix in Newcastle on February 27.

It's believed the Jets may send a weakened squad, fearing injuries to their players from the schedule, the newspaper says.

"In a close competition like we have at the moment, this decision could have a real bearing on our season," van Egmond said.

"To decline our compromise to play the game in Newcastle, claiming it would disadvantage Wellington, is insulting for the credibility of the A-League competition, our players and fans."

Up to 10 Phoenix players are expected to be unavailable for selection due to national team duties and the club could not sign replacement players to play the Jets on March 23 because it would be outside the transfer registration window.

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