Fijian Drua players arrive at Nadi International Airport. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Suva, Fiji — April 25, 2024.

In response to recent accusations circulating that our Fiji Airways Fijian Men’s 7s squad players slept outside during a layover at Sydney Airport on their route to the Dubai 7s event, the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) would like to address these claims.

 

Following receipt of a letter dated December 11, 2023, from the Honorable Speaker of Parliament to the Prime Minister, the FRU began an inquiry into this matter. Concerns were raised in the letter regarding our Fiji Airways Fijian Men’s squad sleeping outside the Sydney Airport Terminal corridor till the airport reopened at 2.30 am.

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Following a comprehensive examination and discussions with the Fiji Airways Fijian Men’s 7s players and management, FRU discovered that World Rugby was responsible for the team’s travel arrangements.

 

The players’ accommodations at the Sydney Ibis Airport Hotel were planned to give them a suitable place to relax during their transit, guaranteeing their comfort and wellbeing for the remainder of their trip to Dubai.

Until Sydney Airport reopened for planned morning flight check-in for passengers, the head coach and assistant coach did stay outside the terminal with the team’s bags and equipment for three hours.

Fiji Government - Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Jese...

The following was said by FRU in their answer to Hon. Jese Saukuru, Minister of Youth and Sports:

On Sunday, November 26, 2023, at 6 PM, our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s squad took out from Nadi on aircraft FJ915 of Fiji Airways.

On the same day, the group landed at Sydney Airport at around 9.40 PM.

The international terminal at Sydney Airport closed at 11:00 p.m.

The head coach and assistant coach of the Fiji Airways Fijian Men’s 7s team remained at the airport to make sure the team’s belongings and luggage were secure until the airport reopened at 2.30 AM, at which point they booked into the Ibis Sydney Airport hotel.

In order to check in at the international airport for their scheduled trip to Dubai at 6AM, the crew left their hotel at 3AM.

The Honorable Prime Minister was informed by the Minister for Youth & Sports of Fiji Rugby’s answer, which stated that it was regrettable that those who expressed concerns to the Honorable Speaker of Parliament were not fully informed of the circumstances that transpired as previously clarified.

 

Fiji Rugby would want to draw attention to false and misleading material that has been circulating on social media about our national Men’s 7s players camped out outside of airports.

 

The Board of Trustees for Fiji Rugby declares that the well-being of our national teams is our first priority, and that we will do all in our power to provide them with the support, dignity, and respect they deserve when they represent our nation abroad.

 

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