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Boycott fears quelled as Lebanon stars agree to play Fiji
10:58 pm GMT+12, 19/06/2019, Australia

A crisis has been averted after Lebabon's senior players agreed to take to the field for Saturday's Test against Fiji.
 
Rugby League International Federation boss Nigel Wood flew to Sydney on Wednesday afternoon and immediately met with Robbie Farah and other senior Cedars players.
 
The dispute has since been settled, as it is understood that the players have agreed to play on Saturday and won't cover the Lebanon Federation logo, as they had planned to do.
 
"The RLIF today met with representatives of the Lebanese playing group to better understand some of the issues which culminated in a potential threat to this weekend’s fixture," Wood said in a statement.
 
"We believe the meeting was positive and productive and have subsequently asked for submissions in writing."
 
The RLIF have now asked for the players to submit their complaints in an attempt to find an outcome which satisfies all parties.
 
"The RLIF can and will play a role in seeking a mutually acceptable outcome, while recognising that fundamentally any dispute such as this can only be a matter for Lebanon RL and its players to actually agree and resolve," Wood said. "If we can play a role in rebuilding levels of trust in the best interests of rugby league in Lebanon then of course we will do so."
 
The resolution comes after a day of drama in the world of Lebanon rugby league.
 
The furore started on Wednesday morning as the Lebanese Rugby League Federation issued a statement threatening extraordinary sanctions - including jail time - if the players covered the logo in protest to the governing body.
 
"The LRLF understands from its coaching staff that the playing squad selected for the match against Fiji intends covering up the CEDARS' emblem," the LRLF said in a statement.
 
"The LRLF will not tolerate any insult to the iconic, national symbol of the Republic of Lebanon and its people.
 
"Consequently, on Tuesday, 18 June, the board decided upon the following resolutions:
 
*Any player who conceals the CEDARS badge – which is the emblem the federation selected to be worn by the representative of al watan, the nation – will face misconduct charges.
 
*Any player who conceals the CEDARS badge will be suspended with immediate effect pending the outcomes of any misconduct hearing.
 
* The LRLF will seek significant monetary fines on any person found guilty of misconduct related to this incident.
 
*The Lebanese public prosecutor's office has been made aware of the incident and will launch an investigation in coordination with the LRLF. It is a criminal offence to denigrate the national emblem of the Republic of Lebanon."
 
Speaking at Leichardt Oval on Wednesday morning, Farah responded to the threats by raising the possibility of a boycott.
 
"I'm not sure what sort of jurisdiction they have to carry out those threats but we have spoken about it and if that's the case, we have got some players here that don't want to cover up the badge and we will seriously think about not taking the field this weekend," Farah said.
 
"We are as a playing group united in demanding change."
 
But those threats - a measure which Farah insists the players did not want to take - have since been toned down.
 
"We didn’t want to cover up the badge, we didn’t want our hands forced into this action," Farah said. "But we thought this was the only way that we were going to be heard.".

SOURCE: SMH/PACNEWS


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