Sunvoice

Let’s Sort Out Sevens Players’ Contracts

Ben Ryan is justifiably upset over the departure of some members of his 7s squad for Sri Lanka. These are players who have reportedly signed contracts with the Fiji Rugby
29 Oct 2014 10:31
Let’s Sort Out Sevens Players’ Contracts

Ben Ryan is justifiably upset over the departure of some members of his 7s squad for Sri Lanka.
These are players who have reportedly signed contracts with the Fiji Rugby Union. The players are all members of the Tokatoka Resort Westfield Dragons rugby club.

They have signed lucrative deals to play for six months there.

But if they are contracted to play for Fiji, they have a legal obligation to honour their contracts.
Pio Tuwai, Sainivalati Ramuwai and Samuela Siqiwa, obviously found the Sri Lanka’s deal irresistible. With a cash incentive of $50,000 for six months, it’s a lot of money by Fiji’s standards.

There are two issues here. One is about contracts. When you sign a contract you are legally bound by it. If you break it, you incur a penalty or costs. By law, the trio in Sri Lanka, if they are guilty, are liable for costs etc.

The second issue is whether the FRU is doing enough to keep the players here instead if being lured away  by rich overseas clubs.
In Sri Lanka itself, there is a battle going on between cricket and rugby about commercial sponsorship. Rugby is gradually gaining inroads into areas previously dominated by cricket.

With rugby now part of the Rio Olympics, a growing number of countries are investing in developing their sevens standard.  Club championships have suddenly become competitive.

With big corporate support, clubs are looking overseas to import players. Fiji is a popular hunting ground for clubs looking for rated players because of our international reputation.

It would be difficult to discourage players from taking up offers for short term contracts.

It is now up to the FRU to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we retain players for as long as it can. One way is to improve the contracts so that it contains incentives for the players to decide to stay.

Ryan has done a remarkable job in moulding a squad that is now winning tournaments.
When players suddenly leave, it seriously affects his long term plans. He is aiming for gold in the Rio Olympics and the build-up for it is going on right now.

Let us hope the player drain will stop so that Ryan can focus on his core role to coach the squad.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj




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