01 December 2008
Fiji football team asks for help with NZ visas
The Fiji Football Association is seeking help to get transit New Zealand visas for their national Under-20 football team after they were rejected by the New Zealand Embassy in Suva, reports the Otago Daily Times.
The team is looking to travel to Tahiti for the Oceania U20 tournament next month, via New Zealand. However, the New Zealand Embassy in Suva has rejected their New Zealand visa applications for transit purposes.
The New Zealand Government is still imposing visa sanctions after the military coup in 2006 in Fiji.
Because the team needs to travel via New Zealand to attend the tournament in Tahiti, the Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar said the board has asked Oceania FA to call for a review of the visa rejection.
"There is no other economical route to Tahiti," said Fiji FA senior vice-president and national team chairman Rajesh Patel, who also added the visa rejection was unnecessary.
"It is only for a couple of hours that we will be in transit in New Zealand," Patel said.
New Zealand faces Fiji in their opening match of the tournament.
The Fiji football team is not the only sports team having trouble with visas for New Zealand. Last month the West Indies cricket team were held back at customs in London and Abu Dhabi while on their way to New Zealand for the two-Test series due to start in December, reports The Nation Newspaper.
Almost a week after the three One Day Internationals against Pakistan, players for the New Zealand tour were still in Abu Dhabi, while three add-ins had not made it through the UK to fly to New Zealand.
The team had to fly to New Zealand via Australia, whereby the team – excluding the Australian coach – needed both a Transit visa for Australia and a visa for New Zealand.
"The entire West Indies cricket team is now well on their way to New Zealand, after brief delays in Abu Dhabi and London," the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Cricket Operations Department said in a statement. "New travel arrangements were made after the team decided to take advantage of the opportunity to stay on in Abu Dhabi for some intensive training".
"This necessitated transiting Australia en route to New Zealand, for which visas were required," the WICB added.
According to Go-Jamaica, the West Indies have not won a Test series against a highly ranked side for five years and have not beaten New Zealand in a Test series since 1996.
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.
Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.