New Zealand Football far from transparent over Des Buckingham's Olympic squad departure

The way New Zealand Football has handled the sacking of Olympic coach Des Buckingham appears to be at odds with what they are saying publicly.

Only contracted to take the side through to August, NZF opted not to extend Buckingham's contract as coach of the under-23 Tokyo hopefuls.

But Newshub can reveal the organisation wasn't completely transparent as to the reasons why.

When the Games were postponed until 2021, many assumed incumbent coach Buckingham would still get to take the OlyWhites to Japan. 

But what wasn't known was that when Danny Hay was appointed All Whites coach, he was also promised the Olympic job after the Tokyo games in July this year.

And that remains the case - Buckingham won't travel to Japan in 12 months - Hay will.

"We had already realigned the position and that was a decision made in August last year," CEO Andrew Pragnell told Newshub. 

Only, that wasn't communicated clearly to Buckingham, who told Newshub that "The first time I was informed that Danny Hay had it in his contract he would take over as men's U23 Head Coach on September 1 was on  April 20."

That was just 12 days ago.

When asked by Newshub if Buckingham was aware of NZF's offer to Hay to take the reigns from September 1 from  the outset, Prganell replied "Yes."

With his contract ceasing at the end of August, a letter from 24 players was delivered to NZF last month asking for Buckingham to be retained beyond his contract.

The governing body didn't flinch and on Friday Pragnell was standing by how they have dealt with the situation in deciding not to announce it publicly straight away

"I think we did the right thing by working through that in good faith internally first," he said.

Only it seems NZF wasn't entirely clear when doing that.