Fiji Rugby Union Chairman Banned from Entering New Zealand by Officials

August 30, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 New Zealand Officials caused controversy when they refused to give Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) chairman Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga a visa to enter the country.

The National squad from Fiji has already entered New Zealand before the scheduled September 9 kick off of the competition but Tikoitoga, who is commander of the Fiji military’s land forces, was not allowed to travel with the squad.

The New Zealand authority has barred Fijian soldiers from entering the country since the military seized control of the Government in a 2006 coup, saying it wants democracy restored in the Pacific nation.

New Zealand have previously led calls for Fiji to be suspended from the Commonwealth, a move that prevented the country from competing in last year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last year.

Tikoitoga’s application to accompany the national side during the tournament was received last week and immediately refused Murray McCully, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for the Rugby World Cup, confirmed. 

“The sanctions are there for a reason and banned means banned,” said McCully.

The ban prevents members of the self-appointed Government, their families, and military members from travelling to New Zealand although Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa was exempted from the sanctions earlier this month to attend the tournament after he resigned from the military.

Tikoitoga was appointed head of the FRU in May after the Government claimed that they had lost faith in the previous regime. 

Other members of his cabinet have also refused to disband from the military also leading to their expulsion

McCully added: “These are people who are not parting company with any military regime. They’re just people who want to come and see the rugby matches and we’re not yielding on the sanctions in that respect.”