World Taekwondo Federation to investigate British selection process after Cook left out of Olympics
11:14 GMT, 7 June 2012
The World Taekwondo Federation are to review the selection process which has seen world No 1 Aaron Cook rejected three times for a place in Great Britain's Olympic team.
GB Taekwondo's decision to put forward Lutalo Muhammad, ranked 59 places below Cook, in the under 80kg division despite twice being asked to reconsider by the British Olympic Association will now be scrutinised by the world governing body.
'We are extremely disappointed by the way in which British Taekwondo's selection process has been conducted and it is clear that the lack of a conclusive rationale has caused confusion,' said WTF secretary general Jean-Marie Ayer.
Top: Cook is ranked No 1 in the world
'The manner of the selection is bringing our sport into disrepute among the UK media and major Olympic stakeholders due to a perceived lack of transparency.
'Our main concern is always that every athlete is given fair and equal consideration – their welfare must come first.
'We at the WTF have done our utmost to bring fair practices and transparency to our sport and that is why we have committed to undertaking this review.
'People all over the world practise taekwondo because it represents sport in its purest form: an individual display of skill, speed and strength.
'It is essential that the WTF preserves that purity for its 201 member countries and 70 million practitioners with transparent and decisive governance.'
Unwanted hat-trick: GB Taekwondo refuse to select Aaron Cook
Ayer said the review, likely to be conducted over the next couple of weeks, would look at whether any regulations had been broken but could not overrule GB Taekwondo's decision.
'Up until now, the WTF had hoped that this matter could be resolved internally at British Taekwondo,' Ayer said.
'As the global governing body we do not interfere with the selection processes and internal affairs of our member nations.
'We have always stated that the athletes nominated for selection must meet minimum requirements set in the Qualification System.
'We are not commenting on the decision to select or omit specific athletes, as the criteria imposed beyond our minimum requirements are the remit of the individual member nation.
'This review will not have the power to alter British Taekwondo's decision, but it will determine whether any rules of the WTF ethics code have been broken.'
The British Olympic Association's Olympic Qualification Standards Panel are currently meeting to review the selection panel process, which was observed by one of their lawyers on Wednesday.
Until they have finished their deliberations the nomination will not be ratified.
On Wednesday night Cook's management company issued a statement in which they said it would be a 'national disgrace' if the reigning European champion did not represent his country at London 2012.
One young fan has even started an online petition (www.change.org/petitions/put-aaron-cook-in-the-olympics) which already has over 1,000 signatures protesting about the decision.