The French Polynesian government has reiterated it will go ahead with a boycott of the Mini Games, following a disagreement over who should represent the territory in boxing.
The CEO of Pacific Games Council Andrew Minogue said their position remained the same: in the absence of an elected Olympic Committee in Tahiti, sporting federations that want to attend the Games are welcome, provided they are recognised by their respective international federations.
“There are rival federations being established in Tahiti and those, while they might be backed by the government and have what they call ‘La délégation de service’, which means they’re entitled to go and represent their country overseas.
“Those federations are not recognised by World Rugby or AIBA in the case of boxing – both of those international federations at this point in time continue to recognise the former federations of those two sports.”
“The PGC’s position was because we’re an international event and we’re governed by the rules of the international federations we have to follow the affiliation decisions that they’ve made,” he said.
“If we didn’t do that then we put those sports at risk of the international federation or the participating countries saying it’s an invalid competition and they were no longer supporting it, so the Games Council didn’t really have any choice.”
Aside from netball a full compliment of athletes from Tahiti were registered before the October 20 deadline to compete across 13 sports in Vanuatu next month.
Andrew Minogue said Tahiti’s recognised sporting federations are still welcome to attend the Games but admitted organisers were not expecting a big turnout.
“We know that the boxing team will be coming – we’ve been sent flight details and names and everything for their team,” he said.
“We’ve been sent some details around the rugby union team although their is some complications with that – we’re not sure if they will come but there’s a possibility that they will come and the rest of the sports at this moment are saying that they’re sticking with the boycott and won’t be coming.
“So I think standing here today the people in Vila who are preparing for the Games are preparing on the basis now there’s only going to be a boxing team and maybe a rugby team and I don’t think we’re holding our hope for any surprises.”
Tahiti’s Olympic Committee has also been suspended by the Oceania National Olympic Committee and that matter will be discussed by the Pacific Games Council when it meets in Port Vila.
SOURCE: RADIO NZ