3 Dec 2008

New Zealand allows Fiji Under-20 football team to transit through Auckland

1:31 pm on 3 December 2008

The New Zealand Immigration has relaxed its rules and allowed the Fiji under-20 Football team to transit through Auckland on its way to Tahiti for the Oceania World Cup Qualifying tournament.

The Immigration Department had rejected the visas earlier but after a formal request from the Fiji Football Association and the Oceania Confederation it has now granted the visas.

As part of the sanctions imposed after the 2006 military coup, New Zealand refused entry or transit visas to people linked to those involved in the coup.

The Fiji FA President, Doctor Sahu Khan, says he is delighted to get the news and appreciates New Zealand government's stance of not mixing politics with sports.

Dr Khan says permission to transit through New Zealand has saved the association at least 32,000 US dollars.

A detour through New Caledonia to Tahiti would have cost just over 16,000 dollars and pulling out of the event would have cost another 16,000 dollars.

The side leaves for French Polynesia via New Zealand next Friday.