Fiji Time: 1:20 PM on Sunday 23 October

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Money talks

Maciu Malo
Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE Fiji Rugby Union will now be able to secure funding from the International Rugby Board following a successful meeting at the Marco Polo Hotel in Hong Kong on Friday.

IRB had suspended all direct financial support to the union in January following a Major Union Review in May last year.

FRU chairman Filimone Waqabaca, who led a powerful delegation to the meeting, said the IRB was impressed with the progress they had made towards fulfilling their request.

When suspending their financial support, the IRB asked FRU to adopt key financial reporting, administration and governance reforms.

"The final outcome was a happy one because we have now agreed to re-engage and move forward on some of the plans that we have with regards to support to Fiji rugby from IRB both to High Performance Unit and also to the development part at Fiji rugby," Waqabaca said.

"The board members were able to outline to the reps from IRB the progress, things that have happened at Rugby House and how we have been able to bring it to where we are today from when we started as a board.

"They recognised the progress we have achieved in particular the huge sponsorship by the consortium likewise the reorganising at Rugby House, the restructure, the changes we are bringing in terms of governance and improving and strengthening the administration and the running of the Rugby House."

Waqabaca said they also spoke about their vision in maintaining financial stability within the union and the other progress they had outlined.

He said they discussed some of the other funding possibilities that were available to Fiji and they would continue to hold meetings with IRB in order to access those funding.

Waqabaca acknowledged that IRB remained a very important partner in developing rugby in Fiji and thanked the international body for its continuous support.

"There was a proposal by them for an observer that was to sit at the board. We outlined our reservation and the fact that we feel that there are people within the board that can handle what the observer was to do.

"We could also have regular communication with them if IRB is concerned. All they have to do is to let us know the areas of concern to them.

"So whatever that was stopped, we are now getting that back and we will be having further meetings on the processes how to secure those funding that have been made available to us."

Fiji's delegation also had deputy chairman Daniel Whippy, board members Baljeet Singh and Esther Williams and acting CEO Doctor Berlin Kafoa.

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