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The Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has compared World Rugby’s current gate sharing agreement to the “days of the Roman Coliseum.”
He has also rubbished claims there is “corruption” and “mismanagement” in the handling the bankrupt Union’s finances.
“When we tour England and play against their teams, the stadiums are at full capacity earning millions of pounds for the host Union and Manu Samoa gets hardly anything in return,” Tuilaepa said. “Why? The gate sharing since the amateur days is still current where the host Union takes all. Smaller Unions like Manu Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are expected to play up to their standards to fatten their bank accounts at our expense.
“This is like being back again in the Roman Coliseum days where the entertainers are fed to the lions. Samoa, Fiji and Tonga provide the entertainment. If the gate sharing is not changed, the poorer unions cannot afford to continue on playing under these circumstances.”
Tuilaepa, who is also the Prime Minister, made the comparison in an interview with the state-owned Savali newspaper released by the Office of the Press Secretary. It is in response to criticisms of the Samoa Rugby Union’s handling of finances, following Tuilaepa’s declaration that the Union is bankrupt.
Last week, a public appeal for help saw $400,000 pledged to aid Manu Samoa’s tour of the Northern Hemisphere.
During the interview, Tuilaepa shares a frank picture of the Union’s budget.
“You see our annual budget for this year is close to 11 million Samoan Tala. The World Rugby funds only about 4.6 million Tala and S.R.U. bears the major balance of the budget from its own fundraisings which include sponsorships from our Government and two local companies.
“The deficit is funded by bank loans. If these Commercial Banks were to call up payment, we have no choice but to fold up. Our loans are unsecured and we are operating from leased property owned by the Samoa Land Corporation.
“We have been dependent on bank financing for the last three years and the figures are available in our Annual Accounts which have clean audit opinions, copies of which have been submitted to W.R. for their records. So we are talking about hard real issues backed by our financial record.”
Tuilaepa also confirmed simmering tensions between the SRU.and World Rugby.
“First World Rugby was unhappy with the process taken by the Board where the Interview Panel recommended one candidate and the Board chose another. For instance, Fuimaono Tafua our present Head Coach was not recommended by the Panel,” he said.
“Of the seven shortlisted candidates interviewed, the Panel overlooked Fuimaono who was the best of the applicants in terms of performance. Fuimaono was our Head Coach when Manu Samoa beat the Wallabies in 2011. The Wallabies then was one of the top two Tier 1 teams in the world.
“From the communications with WR their view is that the S.R.U. should only be a rubber stamp. That is to approve whatever a Sub-Committee recommends. We disagreed.
“Indeed we attach importance to Coach Performance on the field. In a small country where rugby is popular, the public is most vocal when its rugby team does not perform. And the Board has to bear all the bad publicity from the fans. We are answerable to our public and sponsors who fund over 60% of our Budget.
“Many of our players do not fully understand the Coaches’ directives in English. Some of our expatriate appointees by the WR do not fully appreciate cultural practices of our players, which by tradition generate greater mental preparation for our players. That is why the Board recommends other management appointees who are locals to help out. There are many negative feedbacks that the Board has to try and resolve on many cultural matters beyond the understanding of WR officials.
“In Samoa nothing is secret in a small society. A leakage is often hard to stop – Thus when the local papers published our decisions prematurely before we formally advise the W.R. of our decision, these are matters beyond our control, this is regrettable.
“Such is the world where the social media reigns supreme, a common feature of modern communications that is most active in small countries to survive due to paucity of news for their publications. Yet W.R. gives extraordinary attention to this issue of the news leakage to embarrass this Union.
Tuilaepa added that over the years, about 95per cent of the panelists’ recommendations are accepted by the Board.
“Only in exceptional circumstances that the recommendations are not accepted,” he said.
Asked critics who have raised suspicions about corruption and mismanagement within the Rugby Union, Tuilaepa rejected this.
“I have mentioned before that for the last three years our audited accounts had clean audit opinions,” he said.
“That is final proof as in any organization that our financial statements showed a true and fair view of the financial results and that proper accounting of the organizations financing have been kept.
“For these past three years of improved management and financial reforms, we have managed to pay all our expenses and fulfilled all our obligations to participate at WR sanctioned events, paid all the players allowances and have no more complaints. World Rugby should be fully aware of these developments.
“It should be noted that our Board members are all volunteers. They do not receive any monetary payments for their services.
“We also have a small administration staff of seven employees only. In our preparation of the 2015 All Blacks/Manu Samoa Match in Apia, we could only allocate 5 full time staff working around the clock to make the Event successful – a factor which caused some surprise to the NZRU officials whether we were serious.
“But what can we do with the kind of budget we operate on? In the end all the arrangements ran smoothly and the organization aspects were a great success.”...PACNEWS
NZ - RUGBY LEAGUE: AAP PACNEWS SPORT: Wed 15 Nov 2017
Fiji wary of 'world-class' Kiwis before World Cup quarter-final
WELLINGTON,15 NOVEMBER 2017 (AAP)--Fiji winger Marcelo Montoya admits Tonga have done his team no favours with their upset of New Zealand in last weekend's Rugby League World Cup boilover.
The loss meant the Kiwis finished second in Pool B, and became the first tier- one nation in rugby league history to lose to a tier-two opponent.
Montoya has no doubt the stung Kiwis will come out firing in Saturday's quarter- final against Fiji in Wellington.
"Now the New Zealand team know where they've got to patch up, they're going to come out at 100 miles an hour, and we'll have to come out the same," he said.
"We've got to be very well prepared, and we've got to weather that storm."
The Bulldogs youngster says confidence is running high in a Fijian team which recorded three runaway wins in pool play.
The Bati have amassed 32 tries after beating Italy 38-10, Wales 72-6 and the United States 58-12
Montoya says despite the sudden-death pressure of quarter-final play, he doesn't expect the Kiwis will see themselves as under threat.
"They know where they're at and they know what they can produce as a collective," he said.
"They're a world-class team, and I think for us it's about focusing on ourselves.
"We've just got block out what happened last week to them and focus on getting the win. They're going to come out as a new team."
Led by skipper and fullback Kevin Naiqama, Fiji have a wealth of firepower in their back five, and Montoya says there's plenty of experience throughout the team that's going to be crucial in shutting down the Kiwis.
"They've got a strong forward pack and they've got some good outside backs; they're very agile and find their front, and make a lot of metres for them.
"For us, it's just about defending well as a group collectively, and minimising their attack."
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
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