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IRB suspends funds to FRU

Arin Kumar
Monday, January 13, 2014

THE International Rugby Board has reluctantly suspended all direct funding support to the Fiji Rugby Union with immediate effect.

In a statement released on January 11, the IRB said the suspension would last until FRU adopts key financial reporting, administration and governance reforms.

The statement noted the suspension is a result of an IRB Major Union Review that was conducted after the FRU had requested for emergency financial assistance in May last year.

"The decision was reluctantly made after the union failed to implement recommended measures to provide assurance to the IRB that it was appropriately moving to address significant concerns regarding the administration and governance of the union," said the statement.

"The IRB and the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions Regional Association have formally expressed concerns that the financial position of the union is unsustainable and could create instability and impact on the management of the union and key IRB-funded development and high performance programs."

However, the IRB maintains they will continue to support rugby in Fiji.

"The IRB committed £1.1million ($F3.3million) in direct funding to the FRU in 2013 and significant additional financial assistance to participate in international tournaments in 2013," it said.

"The IRB remains committed to rugby in Fiji and the performance of the men's and women's national fifteens and sevens teams and will work closely with FORU and the FRU to ensure that all administration and governance reforms are delivered and funding is reinstated."

FRU acting chief executive officer and board director Dr Berlin Kafoa said they were sorting out their affairs and would like to re-engage with the IRB.

In a statement yesterday, Dr Kafoa said the IRB audit was completed late last year and the report was given to the IRB last month.

"In October 2013 the current FRU board welcomed an IRB audit which was delayed twice by previous management," he said.

"This was agreed to give the FRU board an objective view of the state of affairs at FRU.

"The IRB audit letter and report was received by IRB in December 2013.

"Please note that all these issues were inherited by this current FRU board and the board expects to clear up all these issues by end of May 2014."

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