The Papua New Guinea U23 national team have failed to travel to New Zealand on time.
The Olympic qualifiers for Paris 2024 was supposed to kick off on Sunday.
But Papua New Guinea have not been able to travel to New Zealand for their opening match against the hosts.
Oceania Football Confederation confirms the news in a press release.
“Papua New Guinea are due to play in the opening match of the tournament at 3pm on Sunday August 27 2023 against New Zealand at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium.
The match will not take place.
As per FIFA regulations for the Preliminary Competitions of the Olympic Football Tournaments Games of the XXXIII Olympiad Paris 2024, the matter will be referred to the relevant FIFA judicial bodies.”
OFC Media Officer Michael Wood tells Football in Oceania that the reason PNG will not arrive is that they have failed to secure visas for the trip.
This is not the first time a PNG team has failed to gain a visa, as they also did so for the U19 tournament last year.
It has so far not been decided what will happen to the group, that now consists of only two teams, if PNG fail to turn up, but they may arrive late, following American Samoa’s withdrawal earlier. If PNG fail to turn up, one group now has two teams, New Zealand and Fiji, while the other has the full four of Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Samoa.
“In terms of what happens regarding structure/schedule etc. that will be determined by what FIFA decide following their disciplinary procedures,” Wood says.