SPORTS

NSW Cup bid war

  The Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) has called on Petero Civoniceva, one of the Fiji NSW Cup bid team, for answers to questions they have before any sort of
18 Dec 2017 11:08
NSW Cup bid war
Fiji NSW Cup Bid team inspect the ANZ Stadium in Suva during one of their earlier visits. Photo: FIiji NSW Cup

 

The Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) has called on Petero Civoniceva, one of the Fiji NSW Cup bid team, for answers to questions they have before any sort of endorsement can be done.

The FNRL board which are to meet on Wednesday to further discuss the matter have raised concerns on the following;

 

 Legal and operation framework of the team structure

 Ownership issues of the team and the licence involved

 

This was confirmed to SUNsports by FNRL board chairman Filimoni Vosarogo after Civoniceva took to social media last week voicing  frustrations on FNRL’s delay in endorsing the bid.

“We have the endorsements of NRL, NSWRL, Fiji National Sports Commission, Fiji Sports Council and Fiji Government,” Civoniceva had stated on social media.

“We had two previous written endorsements from the last two FNRL boards and a verbal endorsement in April this year. We are the only Fiji bid proposal that the NSWRL will accept. We are ready to start as we have sponsorship and just require the written endorsement from the current FNRL board.

“We are independent of FNRL to ensure our financial viability and to operate without political interference or regional affiliations- we want a fair and even playing field operating openly, honestly and transparency assured for our supporters, sponsors, FNRL and Fiji Government.”

 

FNRL REPLY

Vosarogo said it’s true that past boards, one of which he was a member, gave endorsement to the NSW Cup bid.

“Like all endorsements, the board monitored the result of such endorsements. The endorsement provided in 2015–2016 for 2017 was of waste because the bid team didn’t have the funding nor sustainable sponsorship backup to ensure longevity of the team in the competition.

“The FNRL will not be used and cannot allow to be used as a rubberstamp of some private business platforms of Civoniceva and his group of unnamed partners.”

He further indicated that as of now they need a thorough due diligence, background check on business proponents of the bid, assessment of funding sustainability and a wholesome review of the structure. This is to ensure that not only is the bid beneficial to the rugby league clubs in Fiji but more importantly, the issue of ownership must be factors for discussion.

“Just last week, I emailed Civoniceva when he asked for an update from me.  I have explained what would be the issues of discussion once I convene the board next Wednesday to discuss the bid request. He didn’t response or even acknowledged my email.”

 

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Civoniceva on social media indicated that this is a tremendous opportunity for Fiji’s elite local players- to be contracted as a full time professional rugby league player (Full time wage)- playing against Australia’s best second tier Rugby League Comp- the NSW Intrust Super Cup.

“I feel this is the missing link for local players- now they will get the opportunity to show case their talents towards a lucrative NRL contract – which is life changing.

“We will look into putting back into the rugby league clubs, players are recruited from.”

Vosarogo said they are all for a team from the FNRL competition to be playing in the NSW Cup.

“But we don’t support this so called Fiji NSW Cup bid because we don’t know who all are and what equity and contribution they bring to the setup.

“We don’t know who they are proposing to fund this bid.

“There is no Fiji in the ownership of the team, is it?  Except for 30 boys from the competition playing, their proposal to operate independently from FNRL and only non-voting rights to maybe two board members into their board is colonial and condescending. It offends against the root struggle of the hundreds and thousands of Fijian players and officials who have sacrificed over the years to bring the game to where it is and not forgetting the loyalty of our sponsors.

“With their personnel shouting out in social media for us to endorse the bid whilst I had last week informed Civoniceva of issues for discussion speak either of one hand not knowing what the other is doing or its just simple arrogance.  It is not business savvy to not wait for your possible business partner to meet and going to social mass media effectively trying to buy your way into people’s conscious. That is either desperation or just pure arrogance.”

 

LONG TERM COMMITMENT

Vosarogo said this is a long-term commitment should the final endorsement into a form or shape of the bid team be agreed.

“We (FNRL) own the game in Fiji.  We have Fijian sponsors who have invested heavily in the game. “ We have Fijian stakeholders who we ultimately report to including the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Fiji National Sports Commission and our AGM members.

“The boys who will play in the NSW Cup are products of personal investments and game administration of Fijian playgrounds in the past years.

“No one will just come into our backyard, take our products from clubs without clarity of what clubs would benefit from players contract should they land an NRL contract and what would FNRL get  for its investment,” he added.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

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