WTF back Cook omission
The World Taekwondo Federation have backed British Taekwondo's decision not to pick Aaron Cook for London 2012.
Cook was overlooked for the under-80 kilograms place at the Games despite successfully retaining his European title earlier this summer.
The world number one maintained the decision to select Lutalo Muhammad was flawed, but after the British Olympic Association (BOA) ruled there was insufficient new evidence for British Taekwondo to be forced to reopen their selection process and also did not allow Cook to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Cook reluctantly dropped his appeal, deciding against taking it to the High Court.
The global governing body issued a statement after the conclusion of their review, which is expected to draw a line under the matter.
It read: "The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has completed its review into British Taekwondo's (BT) selection process for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and has found that the rules defined in BT's selection policy were followed."
Cook, who will not be taking up the reserve place, has been self-funded since leaving the GB Taekwondo Academy programme last year, and always maintained his decision to go it alone was ultimately behind the decision to exclude him from the Olympic squad. GB Taekwondo refute this claim.
WTF's statement continued: "The WTF conducted an analysis of the evidence submitted by BT and representatives of Aaron Cook, and concluded that all the athletes nominated by BT for Team GB satisfy the basic criteria established by the WTF for participation in the Olympic Games.
"Furthermore, the specific selection criteria defined and used by BT were sufficient to justify their nominations.
"As a result, there will be no further official investigation into BT, unless additional evidence is presented."
The BOA had initially rejected Muhammad's nomination, and asked the selection panel to be reconvened for what was a third time.
Last month, WTF secretary general Jean-Marie Ayer had expressed "extreme disappointment" in the whole process, and claimed "the manner of the selection is bringing our sport into disrepute."
However, despite the continued pressure by Cook's representative team to have the decision overturned, the sport's hierarchy have now moved to put the matter behind them.
Ayer said in today's statement: "The WTF is committed to preserving the autonomy of our stakeholders, and our sole concern throughout the review was to ascertain whether any WTF rules or regulations were violated during the selection process.
"Our goal was to ensure that British Taekwondo used a transparent system for selecting their athletes for London 2012. After assessing all available evidence, we are satisfied that this was the case.
"Both Aaron Cook and Lutalo Muhammad have been outstanding ambassadors for the sport of taekwondo, and the WTF strongly hopes that both can continue making a positive contribution to our global community."
Ayer's statement concluded: "We are delighted that the taekwondo family's focus can now return to what promises to be an unforgettable celebration of our sport at London 2012."
The on-going saga has overshadowed what had been a superb build-up to the Games from Gary Hall's elite fighters, who followed up four medals at the World Championships with more impressive displays through the ranks at the 2012 European Championships in Manchester.
As well as world champion Sarah Stevenson and Muhammad, Wales' Jade Jones, 19, and Liverpool fighter Martin Stamper were the other fighters ratified for Olympic selection.
Taekwondo have agreed a target with funding body UK Sport of between one and three medals from their four athletes competing in London.
However, UK Sport's Mission 2012 tracker board, which monitors the progress of Olympic sports, warns that the Cook row has had an adverse effect.
It states: "The high profile 'noise' generated around this matter has been an unwanted and significant distraction for the team at an important time."
UK Sport chairman Sue Campbell and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson last week stressed going forwards there would be more stringent rules surrounding selection policies, and sports would have to agree to the new rules in order to receive funding.