Fijian sports are set to boycott the Commonwealth Games in support of rugby and netball which have been shut out from the July event in Glasgow, Scotland.
Today, national sports organisations will meet in Suva, to decide whether to boycott or not.
A disappointed Reg Sanday, president of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee FASANOC), said: “When Team Fiji walks out into a sporting arena in our national colours we are a united team with our heads held high,” Sanday said.
“We’ve always believed in the principle of ‘all for one, and one for all.’ As Team Fiji, we stand by each other, when one is hurting we all feel the hurt.
“This is just like Brazil going to the Olympics without its soccer team or Jamaica competing without world champion sprinter Usain Bolt and its track athletes.”
“FASANOC was advised of Fiji’s re-admission in the Games only a week ago after accreditation had closed and after draws for the rugby 7s and netball had already been done.”
“Fiji is questioning the timing of the Commonwealth announcement and whether or not it is just ‘a Clayton Offer’, (A Clayton offer is a term widely used to mean a ‘hollow’ offer).”
On tomorrow’s meeting, he said: “National sporting bodies gave the FASANOC board the mandate to campaign for Fiji’s re-admission to the Commonwealth and since we are a democratic body it is only proper that we return the decision to our members.”
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive officer, Michael Hooper, said they could not accept rugby and netball because of “operational difficulties” in redoing the draws. FASANOC had appealed for a redraw of the fixtures to allow more teams.
Sanday said FASANOC had been campaigning for Fiji’s re-entry into the Games since Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2009 for reasons to do with the military takeover of 2006.
He said as a member of the Olympic Movement, FASANOC believed in and was required to uphold the principle of the separation of sports and politics, but the Commonwealth was the only major multi-event Games in the world where a country’s participation was determined by its political standing as determined by politicians.