FUTURE OF FIJI SPORTS NOW
'IN LIMBO', SAYS MITCHELL
By SHERYL HO
SPORTS in Fiji faces great uncertainties while there is a battle for
political power in the name of indigenous rights.
Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president
Dr Robin Mitchell said the immediate effects of our current political
problems locally is mainly cancellation of local sporting events, particularly
those scheduled to take place in Suva.
“One of the worrying features though is the withdrawal of sponsorship
of established sporting events, and in particular the withdrawal of Carlton
Brewery’s sponsorship of the Fiji Open which is a major event in the annual
golf programme,” Dr Mitchell said.
“This trend may continue if there is no resolution of the hostage crisis
in Parliament.” At an international level, the future of sports will be
depend on the political outcome of the current crisis.
“If overseas countries view the outcome as outside current norms, then
it is likely that Fiji’s international sporting contacts may be affected,”
Dr Mitchell said. He said Don McKinnon, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth,
warned on this possibilty in his recent press conference.
“Over the past 12 years the Gleneagles agreement has given more definitive
guidelines to sporting practice and the consequences of violation of these
codes of behaviour,” he said. Dr Mitchell explained that if Fiji’s membership
of the Commonwealth is suspended, then the sports that are affected are
Fiji’s most popular sports namely netball, rugby and to lesser extent
FASANOC will not be able to do much if countries do boycott Fiji’s participation
at regional and international meets as mandated by its charter is a multiracial
organisation whose core business is sport. “We (FASANOC) have very little
control of the circumstances as the decisions will be based on Fiji’s
political status and not its sporting organisation or administration,”
Dr Mitchell said.
As for the South Pacific Games, delays have been caused by government