11 Feb 2011

Halberg judge resigns in protest over All Whites win

10:02 pm on 11 February 2011

A member of the judging panel for the Halberg Awards says he will resign over the decision to give the All Whites the supreme award.

Dick Tayler is to resign from the 28-person judging panel on Friday because he does not agree that the football team should have won.

Members of the voting academy cast their votes in a secret ballot process and only find out who has won at the ceremony.

The All Whites won the supreme award on Thursday night - the first time the sport has claimed the overall honour.

The national side also picked up the sports team of the year award, while Ricki Herbert was named coach of the year.

Mr Tayler, the 1974 Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medalist, says he means no disrespect to football or the All Whites, but does not think the team deserves top honours.

The All Whites failed to win anything and did not even get past the group stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he says.

"You go into a World Cup and you only get as far as your pool - to me, what have you achieved, really. They rank 65th in the world and my personal belief is they weren't good enough."

Mr Tayler believes the All Blacks with their Tri-Nations success, the Kiwis and their Four Nations rugby league win, or world champion rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray would have been much worthier recipients.

Halberg Trust chief executive Steve Hall says choosing the winners by ballot is a robust and transparent process which has evolved over 50 years of the trust.

Mr Hall says he has yet to officially be told of Mr Tayler's resignation and hopes to speak with him.