13 Aug 2008

Fiji Under-12 football team seeks exemption from NZ travel sanctions

1:37 pm on 13 August 2008

The Fiji Under 12 football team, which won the Oceania championship, is yet to find out if can transit via New Zealand to attend the Danone Nations World Championship in France next month.

The team has applied for New Zealand visas but has been advised by the High Commission in Suva that because of a sporting sanction imposed on Fiji over the 2006 coup, Fiji teams may be refused the permits.

But the General Secretary of the Oceania Football Confederation Ta'I Nicholas says the OFC has written a letter to New Zealand's foreign minister seeking an exemption.

"I'm sure when he reads the letter, I know he's really busy, and finds out it's just for kids and they just want to play football, and they're all under 12, and they can either come play some warm-up matches or they can simply just transit."

Ta'I Nicholas says he's confident the team will be granted an exemption, as other Fiji sporting groups have received one in the past.