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Fiji to appeal Commonwealth Games ban

December 01, 2009 15:00 IST

Fiji will lodge an appeal against their exclusion from the 2010 Commonwealth Games with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Athletes from the Pacific Island nation have been banned from competing at next year's Games in India after Commonwealth leaders, meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, upheld an earlier decision to exlude Fiji. The Commonwealth suspended Fiji in September after the nation failed to meet a deadline for opening talks on a return to democracy.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) revealed their decision in their final communique.

"Heads expressed deep concern at the further deterioration of the situation in Fiji islands with regard to its adherence to fundamental Commonwealth values," said a statement.

"They affirmed that sporting ties under the Commonwealth names are inseparable from the values of the association..."

Vidya Lakhan, the president of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC), released a statement on Tuesday confirming Fiji's plans to appeal.

"We again reiterate our position: We see CHOGM's stance in this matter as political interference in sports. We will therefore now take our case to Court of Arbitration for Sport," the statement read.

Lakhan had earlier told reporters in Fiji's capital Suva that FASANOC's lawyers thought they had a strong case.

"We are of the firm belief that the Commonwealth Games Federation cannot deny us participation purely for the reason that they do not like Fijian politics," he said.

"We have for the past weeks been consulting our own lawyers getting interpretations and seeking legal views from other people.

"We are assured that we have a very, very strong case, so based on that we are going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for the decision."

Fiji has been run by a military regime since self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama led an armed forces toppling of the elected government in a bloodless coup in December 2006.

Bainimarama's critics have called on him to hold fresh elections as soon as possible. He had promised an election this year but has since ruled out a vote until 2014.

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