20 Nov 2008

Phoenix part company with Chinese midfielder

9:05 am on 20 November 2008

The Wellington Phoenix have parted company with Chinese midfielder Leilei Gao after he failed to meet off field standards, says club CEO Tony Pignata.

A naturally talented player his performances fluctuated widely week to week, but Pignata says it wasn't his on field performances that led to his departure.

Pignata says the club did all it could to help him settle in but after several meetings with him it got to the point where it was clear they could no longer work with him.

Meanwhile the Phoenix have signed a core group of five players for further seasons, with All Whites Tony Lochhead, Tim Brown and Ben Sigmund extending their contracts for two more years along with the Brazilian Daniel.

Playmaking midfielder Michael Ferrante has signed on for one more year.

The five join currently contracted players Andrew Durante, Jon McKain, Leo Bertos, Vince Lia, Troy Hearfield, David Mulligan and Costa Barbarouses for next season and beyond.