New Zealand Football (NZF) has confirmed that it will not be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over its men's football team's expulsion from the Olympic qualifying tournament at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The All Whites were thrown out of the competition in Papua New Guinea’s capital after a protest made by semi-final opponents Vanuatu over the eligibility of South African-born Deklan Wynne was upheld at a disciplinary hearing on July 12.
The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Disciplinary Committee had ruled that Wynne was ineligible to compete due to him acquiring a new nationality under Article 7 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes.
NZF subsequently launched an appeal in August, which was adjourned until September due to their legal counsel being unavailable, as they argued his eligibility falls under Article 6, which would have allowed him to play.
The OFC Appeals Committee met in September to discuss the case, which had caused widespread embarrassment within the football fraternity in New Zealand, and announced in a statement the following month that the appeal had failed.
NZF President Deryck Shaw revealed its Executive Committee weighed up a number of factors in deciding whether to challenge the decision with the CAS, including the sentiment of the wider football community, who, while frustrated by events, are said to want closure and attention to move back onto the field.
"Despite legal advice recommending an appeal on a number of grounds on the specific case of the disqualification, we have taken the view not to proceed," Shaw said.
"One of the key reasons the decision has been made is to mitigate any risk such an action might have on other players who have represented New Zealand under the same interpretation since the rule change in 2008 and any further action from the OFC."
NZF maintains its position that the action taken against Wynne, and the subsequent disqualification of its men's under-23 team, was unfair.
Shaw revealed NZF will now be seeking the support of the OFC and FIFA to change the current eligibility statutes of world football's governing body and their application.
"We want to secure the opportunity for young people who have moved to New Zealand with their families as children and young adults for non-football reasons to play the game they love in New Zealand and represent their adopted country - something the statutes never intended to prevent," he said.
New Zealand were dramatically thrown out of the Olympic qualifier just hours before they were due to take on Fiji in the final.
Their place was taken by Vanuatu, who were handed a 3-0 walkover win against New Zealand despite succumbing to a 2-0 defeat in their last-four encounter.
They went on to play Fiji in the final later that same day, losing 4-3 on penalties at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
Fiji will now become the first Pacific Island team to take part in an Olympic football tournament at Rio 2016.
October 2015: New Zealand Football's appeal against Olympic qualifier expulsion dismissed
September 2015: Ruling on New Zealand's Olympic disqualification to be announced soon
August 2015: Oceania Football Confederation adjourns New Zealand Football's appeal against Olympic disqualification
August 2015: New Zealand Football's appeal against Olympic qualification expulsion to be considered next week
August 2015: New Zealand Football files appeal over expulsion from Olympic qualification tournament