14 May 2011

No means no for Fiji players linked to military at World Cup

6:37 am on 14 May 2011

The government has reiterated it won't ease sanctions barring Fijian players with military or government ties from travelling to the Rugby World Cup.

The Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the embargo, which was imposed following the 2006 military coup, will remain until there's evidence of substantial progress towards the return of democracy.

McCully was responding to a demand from the new military head of the Fiji Rugby Union, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, for New Zealand to declare whether there'd be a travel ban on Fijian players selected for the World Cup.

McCully has told the Fiji Village website he's mystified as to why there needs to be a clearer message, as banned means banned.

The travel restrictions will also apply to the Fijian team travelling to New Zealand in July for a one-off Test against the All Blacks.

Colonel Tikoitoga says Fiji will seek a ruling from the International Rugby Board but, regardless of the outcome, it'll still send a team to the World Cup.