12 Jan 2011

Fiji Rugby Union chair quits to open dialogue with interim government

2:34 pm on 12 January 2011

The chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union Board says he's stepped aside as dialogue needs to begin with the interim government in the interests of rugby.

Bill Gavoka's decision to step aside as chairman comes after a call from the interim Sports Minister Filipe Bole for the entire board to resign, following Commerce Commission findings that it misused funds from its lottery sales.

Following a board meeting yesterday Mr Gavoka was replaced as chairman by Rafaele Kasibulu, but he will remain on the board.

Mr Gavoka had earlier accused the Commission of bullying and said the board could explain any discrepancies in funds.

But Fiji Village News Director Vijay Narayan says he's now taken a more conciliatory step

"Now it's being said that he voluntarily stepped aside from the position to make way for dialogue. So it's just a wait and see game now on whether the Sports Minister will agree to have the dialogue with still the current board in place or whether he will maintain his stand."

Vijay Narayan says before yesterday's meeting the Sports Minister reiterated his position that the union would only receive 1.6 million US dollars for Rugby World Cup preparations if a new administration was installed.