Payback Time

For the first time, the Fiji Rugby Union handed a number of unions their much-awaited Player Development Release Fees totalling over $100,000. This was done during the FRU annual general
30 Apr 2017 12:19
Payback Time
From left: Cameron Ngamoki-Cameron (FRU board director member), Francis Kean (FRU board chairman), John O’Connor (FRU chief executive), Max Olson (FRU Board Director), and Bobby Naimawi (Board Director) during the Fiji Rugby Union AGM on April 29 , 2017 at the Tanoa Waterfront In Lautoka. Photo: Charles Chambers.

For the first time, the Fiji Rugby Union handed a number of unions their much-awaited Player Development Release Fees totalling over $100,000.

This was done during the FRU annual general meeting at the Tanoa Waterfront in Lautoka yesterday.

FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor said the fees paid out to the unions varied depending on the number of players contracted and the sum contracted for.

“The development fees were a form of compensation to those respective unions whose players had secured overseas contracts,” he said.

This was to compensate the unions and clubs who had nurtured the players and get them to where they are now. The Player Development Release fee that was paid out was for the 2011-2016 period. Players that got their overseas contracts this year will be paid out to the unions at next year’s AGM.

“Over the years unions usually complain on players who were released as it did not receive any financial returns from the release fees the overseas clubs pay for.

“It’s been a long cry from the unions but was never given to them. But now that has endorsed and unions will begin receiving and that has started today.”

The monies paid out to the respective unions would see clubs receive a portion of that money as with the

guidelines approved by FRU.

Previously, the FRU kept 80 percent of the fees paid by overseas clubs and the unions were given 20 percent but that has now changed with FRU getting 60 percent and the unions 40 percent.

The unions that receive their payments were Suva, Naitasiri, Tailevu, Nadi, Nadroga, Namosi, Lautoka, Navosa, Serua and the Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby Association.

Five of the unions, SUNsports spoke to expressed their appreciation to FRU for giving back to the unions and clubs the fees paid.

Tailevu Rugby Union president, John Whippy said they received just over $10,882 for players including Iliesa Keresoni, Ravai Fatiaki, Jimilai Rokoduru and Henry Seniloli. He said the clubs and unions will at least now receive something in return for the players that they had brought up.

Lautoka Rugby Union secretary Sefanaia Scholte said they received $11,625 and this was for two players– Metuisela Talebula and Anthony Wise but were still waiting for fees from Watisoni Votu. He said this money would be trickled down to their respective clubs.

Suva Rugby Union president Humphrey Tawake said they received over $23,000 and expressed their appreciation to FRU for the move. He said the player’s clubs would benefit from the money as it was them who initially developed them. He was optimistic of future fees from other players who have taken up overseas contracts.

Nadi Rugby Union secretary Ilimeleki Navula said they received over $6000 for eight of their players playing overseas. He said they were waiting for this since 2010 and would begin working out on how much would be given back to the respective clubs.

Nadroga Rugby Union president Tiko Matawalu said they received over $14,000 and this was long overdue. He said they had been waiting for this for over seven years. Matawalu said they would be pushing for a better ratio on the fees as with what FRU would get and what the unions receive.



The FRU will begin the process of making the game professional in the country with the intentions to add a commercial arm to the body.

This was endorsed at the annual general meeting.

O’Connor said after the AGM that the management and board of directors have been tasked to look into commercial projects and the appointment of a general manger.

“There was a move to change the structure of FRU on whether to still be a charitable trust or make FRU commercial.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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