Wellington Phoenix attempts to enter an NZ-based women's team into the Australian W-League appear to have hit a wall just days out from launch.
In theory, the team would replicate the professional pathway currently available to their male counterparts since 2007, when the Phoenix entered the A-League.
But to achieve that, Football Federation Australia (FFA) would need to reclassify NZ women as non-imports - the same concession made to the Kiwi men - and NZME reports league management seems reluctant to allow that.
As rules stand, only five local women could feature on the roster - the rest would be Australian.
The Phoenix have been tight-lipped over the project, but on Tuesday, admitted they have been negotiating with FFA.
"The club can confirm it has been actively pursuing this course of action in recent months and are working with Football Federation Australia on an entry into the competition in due course.
"The club will not be making any further comment on an entry into the W-League at this time."
In fact, plans are well advanced. Newshub understands a playing strip has been developed for the team, which could be coached by Football Ferns mentor Tom Sermanni with support from Football NZ.
The programme was apparently due to be launched this week, but FFA stalled that announcement, with player eligibility now looming as the likely sticking point that needs to be resolved.
Newshub has approached Football Federation Australia for a response.