SUVA, December 1- Fiji will appeal its exclusion from next year's Commonwealth Games in India to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, officials said Tuesday.
The Pacific island nation’s exclusion from the games follows the decision of the Commonwealth to suspend it in September after Fiji’s military regime ignored international demands to restore democracy following the 2006 coup.
The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) said it was disappointed by the decision of the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit at the weekend to uphold Fiji’s suspension from the games.
"We totally disagree with this decision. In our view it is tantamount to political interference in sports," FASANOC president Vidhya Lakhan said.
"As such we will now be taking the matter up to the Court of Arbitration for Sports for a resolution."
The Commonwealth Games Federation confirmed in October that Fiji could not attend the games following its suspension from the Commonwealth.
But it offered a glimmer of hope by adding it would ask the heads of government summit to exclude sports from sanctions imposed on countries suspended from the Commonwealth.
But the heads of government meeting in Trinidad reaffirmed Fiji would not be invited to the games in Delhi, with only Malaysia offering support.
The summit communique said sporting events showcased the Commonwealth "as a family of members with a shared commitment to fundamental values".
Any country under full suspension from the Commonwealth should therefore be ineligible for Commonwealth sporting events, the leaders said.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport is an independent body set up to settle sports-related disputes.