Fiji's participation in the Rugby World Cup remains in doubt after the Government ruled out relaxing travel sanctions to allow officials with military links to come here.

The International Rugby Board had said it would continue to press New Zealand to relax the travel ban during the competition, but Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said he had informed the board the sanctions would stay.

"There's not going to be a change in policy in New Zealand. The Prime Minister's been very clear about it and I [have] as well," Mr McCully said.

"Obviously they don't want to have limitations on who can get into New Zealand affecting the character of the teams, but they also understand that who is able to enter New Zealand is a matter for the New Zealand Government and that has never been contested."

New Zealand had no intention of using the World Cup as an excuse to relax sanctions applied against Fiji since the 2006 military coup.

But Mr McCully said he hoped that a way forward could be found, despite telling the new chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, that "banned meant banned".

"I've got an open door as far as the Fijian Administration is concerned ... I wouldn't want to portray a sense of hostility about any of this," he said.

There would be no relaxing of sanctions until Frank Bainimarama's Government took steps to restore democracy and human rights.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller said yesterday that "if people talk quietly behind the scenes" it was possible the issue of sanctions could be resolved.

The head of the Fijian Olympic committee has suggested Fiji boycott the cup if sanctions are not lifted, or unless the board moves its games out of New Zealand.

Fiji said the travel ban was a major obstacle preventing it from selecting the best team for the competition.

"I am confident that Fiji will come to the Rugby World Cup," Mr Miller said. "I am confident that all the matches will take place in New Zealand, and I am confident that Fiji will acquit themselves very well in this Rugby World Cup."

Former All Black and rugby observer Richard Loe is supporting the Government's refusal to budge from the ban.

"I think it would be soft from John Key's Government's point of view if they bowed to IRB pressure," he said.

"The sanctions were put in place for a reason. To bend the criteria just for a game of rugby may be seen as soft."

He said South Korea or Papua New Guinea could replace Fiji if it boycotted the tournament.