FNRL wants reforms

Some members of the Vodafone Fiji Bati squad during a training session in England earlier this week. Picture: FNRL

The Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) will push for “governance reforms” in the International Rugby League during the world body’s congress in England next week.

FNRL chairman Viliame Naupoto and CEO Don Natabe will join delegates from other rugby league playing nations to discuss ways to grow the sport.

Natabe said the world game needed more clarity on what was happening internationally and move away from the reliance on the Australian Rugby League Commission and Rugby League Football (UK) to run the world show.

“In terms of attending the International Rugby League (IRL)congress, one of the things we have been keen on doing is getting governance reforms at the International Rugby League,” he said.

“Troy Grant has taken on another term to lead us as chairman of the International Rugby League and I think the challenge is for all members to work together in putting a good long-term marked year calendar like rugby union does.

“There’s a lack of clarity on what’s happening in international football and that’s one thing we’ll be advocating.

“There’s a lot of work to do in terms of education and sharing part of the funds we get from international outings – we need to move away from the reliance of the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and the Rugby League Football (RLF). I think the International Rugby League will need to stand on its own two feet and we will have to support its efforts.

“A lot of the commercial aspects around International Rugby League has been predominately controlled by both organisations (ARLC and RLF) and there’s definitely change coming in.”

Natabe said there was a need to have solid commitments from involved parties.

“International football is very important in developing rugby league in other parts of the world and Fiji is no exception to that. That’s why I say moving into this congress and making sure we have solid commitments from the IRL board to give us some sense of direction on what we can achieve internationally.

“The limelight has always been on the two professional rugby leagues (NRL and Super League) and I think we need to move the limelight from there and put it on international football and give our children something to look forward to. Not only in terms of furthering their professional career paths but also represent their country in international football.

“By doing that a lot of the spin-offs do come back and develop grassroots rugby league. That’s the missing piece for all these years.”

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