7 Feb 2012

Fiji stripped of Olympic football qualifying tournament

6:24 pm on 7 February 2012

Fiji has been stripped of the Oceania Olympic qualifying football tournament which will now be hosted in Taupo next month.

The move comes amid problems the Oceania Football Confederation secretary general, Tai Nicholas, could have entering Fiji following comments he made about the country's judicial system.

The Fiji government has threatened to charge Nicholas with contempt of court.

Transfering the tournament to Taupo improves the New Zealand Under 23 men's teams chances of qualifying, says coach Neil Emblen.

Emblen says conditions in Fiji would've been testing with high humidity and temperatures 30 degrees plus.

Emblen's squad for the eight nation event will be made up of local based players as the five current All Whites who meet the age criteria Chris Wood, Tommy Smith, Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas and Jake Gleeson are still only outside chances to be available.

The participating are New Zealand, Fiji, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu with the winner qualifying for London.