ARU loses World Sevens Series round
January 14, 2001

The International Rugby Board (IRB) have stripped Australia of the right to host a round of the World Sevens Series, scheduled for Brisbane on 16-17 February, after the Australian government's refusal to provide visas for the squad from Fiji.

Australia refused to grant the visas because of sanctions introduced following a military coup in the South Pacific islands last May.

An IRB statement said: "While it is appreciated that the decision to ban the Fijians has been taken by the Australian government and not the ARU (Australian Rugby Union), the IRB, after careful consideration, has decided that the Host Union Agreement cannot in this instance be honoured and that, as a consequence, it will not be possible for the Series to be held in Brisbane.

"The Board has recognised that if the ARU wishes to proceed with the Tournament without Fiji, then it may do so, but it will not be a World Series event, nor will it be accorded status as an IRB event.

"The IRB wishes to acknowledge the efforts made by the ARU to persuade the Australian Government to lift the ban on Fiji."

The World Sevens Series in only in its second year, and is due to continue with the third round to be played in Wellington, New Zealand, on 9-10 February.

As yet, there has been no response in Australia to the IRB action.

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