31 Aug 2011

Fiji rugby boss labels NZ sanctions absurd

3:10 pm on 31 August 2011

The chair of Fiji's Rugby Union says New Zealand's policy excluding members of the military from sports events is absurd, and he will no longer subject his players to it.

The New Zealand Government has declined Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga's visa application to attend the Rugby World Cup, because he is a member of the military.

Colonel Tikoitoga says Fiji will miss out on vital development opportunities if he is not in New Zealand.

He says he told the New Zealand authorities, in his visa application, that he would be attending meetings with the IRB, as well as watching rugby.

"It is absurd to think that anybody has to give up his power of earning, or power of living, or power of employment, just to come and play rugby in New Zealand. It is not only absurd, but I think it is a stupid policy. And I cannot subject our players to that every time we want to come and play in New Zealand."

Colonel Tikoitoga says if the sanctions remain, Fiji will pull out of the Wellington Sevens tournament.