12 Oct 2007

FIFA cancels Fiji/NZ World Cup qualifier over visa impasse

1:42 pm on 12 October 2007

World soccer's governing body FIFA has cancelled Saturday's World Cup qualifying match between Fiji and New Zealand in Auckland.

FIFA is disappointed at the New Zealand government's decision to deny Fiji goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau a visa into the country.

The player was denied a visa under sanctions currently in place as a result of last December's coup, which bans all travel to New Zealand by members of the Fiji military and their families.

The player's father in-law is reportedly in the military.

The general secretary of Oceania Football, Tai Nicholas, says FIFA had implored New Zealand's government to reconsider its stand.

"They're disappointed with the government's decision not to grant a visa for the goalkeeper. They requested the government to reconsider their decision this morning but the decision was again that government were not to grant a v isa. As a result FIFA advised Oceania Football to advise the New Zealand and Fiji Football that the match won't take place tomorrow and the status of the match will be referred back to FIFA for a determination."

Tai Nicholas says the return-match of the qualifier is still due to take place next Wednesday in Fiji.