26 Oct 2015

Sport: Fiji Football step up Olympic plans following appeal decision

11:44 am on 26 October 2015

Fiji Football will ramp up their preparations for the Rio Olympics after New Zealand's appeal over their disqualification from qualifying was dismissed.

The Oceania Football Confederation upheld the ruling that the New Zealand under-23 men's team's fielded an ineligible player against Vanuatu during regional qualifying in Papua New Guinea in July.

Fiji went on to win the tournament and book their place in Brazil next year.

Fiji Football President Rajesh Patel was always confident the appeal would rule in their favour but says it's nice to have confirmation.

"That was something that weight over our shoulders had that now we can get into full swing preparing for the Rio Olympics. We have already a request from Qatar to play November 17th and we have also lined up matches with teams in Spain so this is something that we will now go ahead with it. The appeal was something we were waiting on what was going to happen. Finally we have known that the appeal has been dismissed and we will move on from here and prepare for Rio Olympics".

New Zealand Football has 21 days to decide whether to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Fiji Football president Rajesh Patel.

Fiji Football president Rajesh Patel. Photo: Photosport