The All Whites' clash against world number one Belgium has officially been cancelled because of Covid-19.
New Zealand Football (NZF) confirmed the news on Saturday after denying preemptive reports of a possible cancellation on September 17.
NZF CEO Andrew Pragnell says the decision to remove the fixture from the side's schedule was a difficult and saddening one based largely on player availability.
"We are incredibly disappointed to be in this position but from the outset our first priority was our players," Pragnell said.
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"As it currently stands, we aren't able to get enough of our team to the game and back to their respective countries without major disruptions to their domestic seasons."
Earlier in September, head coach Danny Hay detailed the lack of players available for their end-of-year matches because of constraints brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hay did not expect any players outside Europe to turn out, and conceded he himself would need to set up camp for a long period of time in the Northern Hemisphere.
On top of that, Fifa have relaxed rules for the international windows in October and November, meaning clubs do not have to release players as usual. That would likely result in even more Kiwis missing out on a special game in the white jersey.
"We knew when agreeing this fixture that the impact of Covid-19 was fluid but with a number of our squad unable to travel due to Covid restrictions, or having to go through significant quarantine on their return home, it became unfeasible. It would have taken them out of contention for their club sides and impacted on their long-term development as players and their careers."
The clash was set to precede another historic match for New Zealand against England at Wembley Stadium, which is set for November 9 and whose fate is yet to be determined.
"We are continuing to monitor the situation around future games," was Pragnell's only comment on other All Whites fixtures.
The match against Belgium would have delivered the men's side their biggest test since their 2010 World Cup match against Italy. Even then, Italy were not number one in the world at the time.