Fiji threatens Commonwealth Games boycott over rugby sevens exclusion
Fiji is threatening to boycott this year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games after being told its high-profile rugby sevens side cannot take part, the Pacific island nation’s sports chief warned on Tuesday.
It comes just 10 days after Fiji was readmitted to the Games fold, ending years of isolation following a 2006 military coup.
But the return was approved after the draw for Glasgow was completed, with the qualification rules making no provision for late entries. The Fiji netball team has been shut out for the same reason.
Fiji are one of the biggest drawcards in world rugby sevens, winning Commonwealth silver in 1998 and 2002 and claiming bronze in Melbourne in 2006, the last time they competed in the event.
Fiji are third in this year’s Sevens World Series behind South Africa and New Zealand and are in Hong Kong to defend their Sevens crown.
“Our sevens rugby team has proven to the world by winning the World Cup twice that we can win medals at the Commonwealth Games,” Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (Fasanoc) president Reg Sanday said.
“Imagine Brazil going to the Olympics without its soccer team or Jamaica running at the Games without world champion Usain Bolt?
“Fasanoc will have a meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] to discuss a boycott. We are upset by the decision by the Games committee to exclude our rugby sevens and netball teams.”
In a letter to Fasanoc, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Michael Hooper said the Fiji rugby and netball teams could not be accepted because of “operational difficulties” in redoing the draws.
The Commonwealth Games run from July 23 to August 3.