[103/Nov 13/ 2015]
SODELPA Shadow Minister for Youth and Sports said today it is time for the member unions to retake control of their organization and called on Prime Minister Bainimarama to leave the affairs of Fiji Rugby to the FRU.
SODELPA Shadow Minister for Youth and Sports Ratu Suliano Matanitobua was reacting to the resignation of the CEO today and said that Fiji Rugby is not the play-ground of the Fiji First Party and their financial backers.
Ratu Suliano said he had received word from Fiji Rugby Union that Government was putting pressure on the executives of the Fiji Rugby Union with the ultimate aim being the resignation of its CEO which has now been confirmed.
Ratu Suliano said the FRU has been under the defacto control of Bainimarama since 2011 when he was able to force the independently elected board to step down by threatening to withhold government funds for 2011 Rugby World Cup preparations.
In 2014, the FRU Board decided to consolidate all sponsorship rights into a single package in early 2014 and sold this to a consortium of Bainimarama favourite businesses, led by Vodafone, and including CJ Patel, Fiji Airways and Home Finance. The rugby loving population in Fiji was told the deal was worth $8m a year, $40m over five years.
But the reality for this deal is getting grim because the Vodafone consortium is yet to stand up to their promises. The cash amount that the FRU receives each year is around $2.5m per year and from that more than $1m per year has had to be paid out to FRCA as VAT levied against the larger $8m value shown in the contract
This and the internal rumblings of FRU are likely to impact the performance of our Rugby Boys and illustrate once again, that that the Rugby Coup in 2011, carried out by Frank Bainimarama will be the death of the FRU.
It is time for the member unions to retake control of their organization and I call on Bainimarama to leave the affairs of Fiji Rugby to FRU.
The level of nepotism practised by the Prime Minister is unprecedented. He has his close relatives at the FRU and Fiji Sports Council, and so long as the people tolerate this, things can only get worse for rugby.
Ratu Suliano Matanitobua