Australian ban on Fiji rugby may stay

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer met international rugby chief Vernon Pugh today to discuss

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer met international rugby chief Vernon Pugh today to discuss

concerns over Fiji's involvement in the 2003 World Cup in Australia.

But Downer gave no guarantees restrictions on Fijian sporting teams entering Australia would be lifted for the event.

"Basically the sanctions are still in place," a spokesman for Downer said after the Adelaide meeting.

The sanctions were put in place as a result of last year's military coup to try to put pressure on Fiji to return to a democratic system of government.

But the spokesman said exemptions could be considered for certain events "on a case-by-case basis".

The International Rugby Board expressed concern when the Australian government refused visas for the Fijian team to play in a Sevens tournament in Brisbane last month forcing a cancellation of the entire event.

AFP