23 Feb 2011

Vanuatu disappointed not to be at Beach Champs

12:58 pm on 23 February 2011

The Oceania Beach Soccer Championship will now be just a three horse race, after Vanuatu were unable to get a flight to Papeete in time to take part.

The start of the tournament had already been delayed by a day after inclement weather in Port Vila over the weekend forced the cancellation of all flights out of the Vanuatu capital.

But the Chief Executive of the Vanuatu Football Federation, Fabien Hoeppe, says the situation hasn't improved and they've had to withdraw from the tournament.

"The players were preparing for months for this tournament. They are disappointed and sad but they understand why we can't go. It was the cyclone so yes, that's a disappointing situation for VFF but with security and the pilots company that took the decision not to fly."

The Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tahiti will still contest a truncated competition from tomorrow with the winner to represent Oceania at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, set to be held in Ravenna, Italy during September.

Meanwhile the Oceania Football Confederation has joined the global bodies in extending their sympathies to the people of Christchurch after Tuesday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake.