The Pacific Games Council says a compromise over rival sporting bodies in Tahiti is a one-time solution and it expects the matter to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Tahiti’s suspension from the Games Council, for political interference, was provisionally lifted last week, with athletes from the French territory free to participate at next year’s Pacific Games in Samoa, provided an agreement for the selection of its rugby and boxing athletes is honoured.
Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue said both sports have competing federations in French Polynesia but the Tahiti Olympic Committee has offered to take charge of the selection process for the 2019 Games, with all athletes to be considered.
“Right at the moment the two federations that the Tahitian Government recognises are not the federations that the international federation recognises so there is that continuing confusion that there are rival bodies,” he said.
“Our normal protocol at the Pacific Games is we follow the international federation’s membership but in Tahiti they’ve got different considerations over there.
Andrew Minogue said the Pacific Games Council doesn’t want athletes in other sports to be held back from competing in Samoa by a dispute taking place in rugby and boxing.
“It’s a compromise solution,” he said.
“I think it’s a one-time solution only because by the time rugby and boxing are next on the Pacific Games programme, which will be in 2023, that’s five years from now.
“You would well and truly expect these affiliation issues are resolved and sorted out so we’re trying to get through the next 12 months and having the Tahitian athletes back with us next year.”
Andrew Minogue said the French Polynesian President, Édouard Fritch, recently wrote to the Tahiti Olympic Committee, assuring them his government fully respected the organisation’s autonomy, and he was confident there will no further problems with political interference.