by Paul Osborne
March 25, 2014 (ISN) – Fiji’s netball and rugby sevens team will not compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, insidethegames has learned.
Following its reinstatement into the Commonwealth earlier this month, Reg Sanday, President of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC), appealed to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) asking them to allow the two teams to compete at the Games after they missed the qualification period.
But Peter Murphy, head of communications at the CGF, has told insidethgames it is simply too late for the teams to be given entry to the competition.
“Following receipt of a request from FASANOC to consider the possibility of the inclusion of rugby sevens and netball teams at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the CGF conferred with both the international sports federations concerned, the IRB and INF, as well as the Organising Committee in Glasgow,” Murphy told insidethegames.
“After due consideration the CGF reaffirmed its earlier advice to FASANOC that it was not able to accede to its request.
“Formal advice of this decision was conveyed to FASANOC on Friday 21st March.”
Fiji had been suspended from the Commonwealth since 2009 when military ruler Frank Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, refused to bow to demands to hold elections.
After promising to hold elections in September, and ratifying a new constitution last year, the Pacific Island was granted re-entry into the Commonwealth at a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on March 14, paving a way for their athletes to compete at the Games.
It will be the first Commonwealth Games since Melbourne 2006 that Fiji has competed in, having missed Delhi 2010.
The absence of their rugby sevens team in particular will be a huge blow to Fiji’s medal chances in Glasgow, with the team proving to be one of the strongest in the world.
Just yesterday, the Fiji sevens squad secured the HSBC Sevens World Series Tokyo Sevens title, cementing their third place position in the Sevens World standings.
The team also won medals at the last three Commonwealth Games it entered – the first three in which rugby sevens was a part of the sports programme – taking silver in both 1998 and 2002, and a bronze in 2006.