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FRU unfazed

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, August 01, 2014

THE Nadroga Rugby Union will not budge from its decision to boycott the Skipper Cup semi-final against Suva next weekend.

The union sent a statement earlier this week listing its demands and gave the Fiji Rugby Union until today to meet them.

Outstanding payments and rewards owed to players topped Nadroga's list of demands.

The FRU responded yesterday saying the demands "should however not be justification for a boycott of games" adding "the semi-finals will proceed as scheduled".

In a statement, FRU chairman Filimone Waqabaca said the concerns raised by Nadroga Rugby Union were "operational matters and do not concern the sponsors of the Skipper Cup competition, CJ Patel".

"This is the first year of operation under the new consortium sponsorship, the highest ever secured for FRU, and there are bound to be some teething issues that are being ironed out operationally," Waqabaca stated.

Nadroga Rugby Union president Tiko Matawalu said the justification provided by the governing body did not solve the issues raised by them.

He claimed the FRU had not been transparent enough with the unions on the breakdown of the sponsors.

"They are claiming that most of these issues are operational matters. There is no one in operation, they are the operational team at present given their micro-managing approach and for them to push the blame and free them from these issues is not on," Matawalu said.

"Their piece of release (statement) is not signed and shows that they are not bold enough to front up given the shortfalls they have realised but still have a hard heart to accept and admit.

"We are still firm on our stand to boycott should they fail to meet our demands."

Waqabaca said the timing of Nadroga's stance was "disappointing".

He said it was dismissive of the FRU boards' diligent efforts towards the restructuring of Rugby House as a platform for future growth, "evidenced as an example in the positive turnaround seen in the financials of FRU in 2013 within seven months of the board's operation".

"It threatens directly the current discussions towards the normalising of relationships with the IRB and also the continued efforts to secure more sponsors," Waqabaca added.

Matawalu reiterated the step taken by Nadroga Rugby Union, which is supported by the Suva Rugby Union, was for the betterment of rugby in Fiji.

"They are still trying to justify themselves. They should be humble enough to admit that they cannot meet the demands because they don't have it, to end the story and let us move on."

Meanwhile, provincial rugby delegates are invited to a meeting tomorrow, to among other things, address the issues that have been raised.

Waqabaca said the meeting would also be an opportunity for the union executives to meet the new FRU CEO Radrodro Tabualevu.

"I wish to reiterate that Fiji rugby is bigger than all of us and we must always endeavour to protect the brand through responsible and collaborative actions within the rugby family," Waqabaca said.

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