19 Apr 2011

Government and IRB told to stop interfering in Tongan rugby

3:32 pm on 19 April 2011

A controversial former chairman of the Tonga Rugby Union says the government shouldn't be involved in running the sport in Tonga.

The game is currently being administered by the Tonga Rugby Union Authority which was set up last year by the government to address the IRB's concerns over the way the union's constitution was being applied.

A petition submitted to the cabinet has expressed dissatisfaction with the management of the Authority and called for a change in leadership.

MP Sangster Saulala lost the chair two years ago amid accusations of financial mismanagement.

But now he wants changes in the current arrangement saying there's no need for the government or the IRB to interfere in the running of Tongan Rugby.

"Give it back to the people. It belongs to the people; it belongs to the rugby clubs; it belongs to the players and they want to support rugby but they don't like how it operates now. It's controlled by the government and they appointed an Australian, Bob Tuckey, to be the chairman. We believe we should be led by a Tongan."

Sangstar Saulala says since the new administration has been in charge the Ikale Tahi and national sevens team have lost most of their matches.