Govt bans two Fiji rugby players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Govt bans two Fiji rugby players

06/06/2007 08:03:39 PM Comments (0)

The Australian Government has banned two members of the Fijian rugby squad from entering Australia ahead of Saturday's Test against the Wallabies.

Rugby prop Alefoso Yalayalatabua and coaching staff member Semi Rogoyawa are members of the Royal Fijian Military.

Sanctions placed on Fiji by the federal government aim to prevent anyone associated with or who supported the coup from travelling to Australia.

"Two members of the 34 strong touring squad, one player and one manager, have been denied visas in accordance with Australia's travel restrictions on Fijian military and other supporters of the Fiji coup," a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told The West Australian.

"Both are members of the Fijian military."

Fijian military Commander Frank Bainimarama overthrew the democratically government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on December 5 last year.

It was Fiji's fourth coup in two decades.

Though the coup was bloodless, it was met with anger in neighbouring countries because the small nation's economy was only just getting back on track after the previous military uprising in 2000.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has repeatedly warned Australia will not change its attitude to Fiji until the country puts in place a real plan for a return to democracy.

The sporting ban is not without precedent. Australia recently placed a ban on several Fijian cricket players from taking part in a World Cup qualifying tournament in Darwin because of their links to the military.

The Australian Rugby Union has also taken action against the regime, banning an Australian team from travelling to an international seven a side tournament in Suva.

The Australian Government has also recently employed sporting sanctions against rogue nation Zimbabwe, last month cancelling a tour of the poverty-stricken African nation by the Australian cricket team planned for September.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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