Part of the Cook Island football team who travelled to the Solomon Islands, were welcomed by family and friends in Rarotonga yesterday CIFA MEDIA/23112818
The Pacific Games Council will not take any action against the Cook Islands Football Association for forfeiting its final matches at the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
national men’s and women’s teams were asked to forfeit their playoff matches by
Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) without the knowledge of Team Cook
Islands management last week.
concerns that the decision to forfeit the three matches could have violated the
Pacific Games Council (PGC) charter.
Games Council chief executive officer, Andrew Minogue, confirmed to Cook
Islands News yesterday that: “PGC is not intending to take action.”
an Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) spokesperson told the newspaper that
Pacific Games is not an OFC tournament “on that basis, any OFC Statutes,
Regulations or Codes do not extend to the Pacific Games as it is not within the
national teams left Honiara on Saturday night (Cook Islands time) and some
members of the team arrived in Rarotonga yesterday.
team was scheduled to play Papua New Guinea on Sunday after finishing second in
Pool A with a win over Tonga 2-1 and a 0-8 loss to New Caledonia. Depending on
their result against PNG, the Cook Islands side would have featured in the
5th or 7th place playoffs.
women’s side who finished third in Pool A was set to take on American Samoa in
the 9th place playoff on Monday. In the pool play, Cook Islands lost to New
Caledonia 2-5 and Papua New Guinea 0-3 before beating American Samoa 3-0.
Islands News article regarding the national football teams’ forfeiture of their
Pacific Games matches drew widespread criticism from the public.
players didn’t know. Would be good to be looked into,” a person posted on the
Cook Islands News Facebook page.
Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) Owen Lewis also took to
social media, saying: “CISNOC was not involved in this decision. We were not consulted.
Football has a manager and other officials in Honiara and I am assuming they
made the decision in consultation with CIFA executives.”
be discussing this decision with CIFA in our review of the Games.”
on to say that: “It is disappointing that somehow the decision by CIFA has been
connected to CISNOC and the CISNOC office not being staffed. We have three
staff at the games two of whom are competing. The remaining staff are all at
work in Rarotonga. It would be refreshing to hear positive comments about the
work all CISNOC staff have put into making this a successful venture, not the
vitriol trying to link and blame anything negative to the hands of CISNOC and
a statement on Sunday, Cook Islands Football Association said the decision to
recall the Cook Islands football teams was not taken lightly.
to the team’s departure for Pacific Games, it had been agreed upon within CIFA
that should our teams not make it to the semi-finals, they would return early,”
decision was primarily influenced by the limited availability of flights out of
Honiara. Coordinating travel for a group of our size presents a logistical
challenge, particularly given that members of our team would potentially be
stranded in Honiara for up to two weeks after the conclusion of the games.
decision to return early was made with the well-being of our team members in
said that all team officials were informed about this arrangement before their
travel plans were finalised.
appears there may have been a breakdown in communication, and for this, we
sincerely apologise,” the association said.
understands and regrets any embarrassment or negative perception this may have
caused Team Cook Islands or the spirit of the Pacific Games. We are committed
to learning from this experience and will strive to manage similar situations
more effectively in the future.”