31 Jan 2011

IRB officials in Fiji for talks amid controversy enmeshing the rugby union

3:23 pm on 31 January 2011

An International Rugby Board delegation has flown to Suva today for talks with the Fiji Rugby Union.

The visit follows weeks of controversy since the Fiji Commerce Commission found the union had misused funds from its lottery sales.

Vinnie Wylie reports.

"The IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset and CEO Mike Miller has flown to Suva today along with the Regional Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright. They're to hold talks tomorrow with the FRU board and the interim Sports Minister, Felipe Bole, alongside meetings with FRU staff, to get an update on Rugby World Cup preparations. The interim board was due to be replaced this week at a Special General Meeting, after Mr Bole had called for them to resign. However, the IRB wrote to the Union and asked them not to make any changes before this weeks visit. The IRB talks come amid claims in a New Zealand newspaper that the Fiji interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, could well end up as the union's new president, and that this would entitle him to enter New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. However the possibility that Commodore Bainimarama could circumvent the sanctions which have banned him and others involved in the coup of 2006 from entering New Zealand has been dismissed by the NZ Foreign Minister, Murray McCully."