Wansolwara News

Vol. 5 No. 2
June 2000

Page 15

FIJI FOOTBALL IN JEOPARDY
By SHERYL HO

SOCCER is likely to suffer as Fiji’s political future is unknown. Fiji Football Association (FA) chief executive officer Jitendra Maharaj told Wansolwara the soccer programme has been disrupted badly.

“We couldn’t host the FIFA president, Joseph Blatter, who came to Fiji through Nausori on May 19 and we had to send him away,” Mr Maharaj said.

“We were hoping for aid from FIFA for a Soccer Institute in Fiji and we were given a positive response on that. “The $6m in aid that FA was hoping for from FIFA is in serious jeopardy.”

The FA and district associations who largely depend on income from gate takings will be affected as tournaments will be postponed. Mr Maharaj said the Fiji Bitter event had to be postponed and has been moved to June.

“Although we may be able to hold tournaments, the attendance would not be expected as in the normal situation.” He said it will hard to get people back to the normal leisure activities as people will put family priorities first.

Mr Maharaj said the FA were hoping to bring the players — who are preparing for the Oceania Cup to be held in Tahiti in June — into camp a week following the takover and that the events wouldn’t affect the teams concentration and players do attend.

The FA has had to suspend the camp indefinitely. “It remains to be seen whether countries will boycott Fiji’s participation at regional and international meets,” Mr Maharaj said.

“Should there be limited activities, then sponsors might withdraw their sponsorship from Fiji soccer,” he said.


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