24 Jan 2017

Sport: Fiji Rugby close to resolving 7s contract issues

12:39 pm on 24 January 2017

Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber says a resolution is close on the contracting situation for the Olympic and World Series champions.

The previous arrangement expired after the Rio Games in August and it emerged last month that players selected for the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments received only minimal match payments and a daily allowance during their time in camp, without any long-term security.

Fiji Sevens win gold in Rio. The first ever olympic medal for the country and the first Gold medal for the whole of the Pacific region.

Fiji during their successful Olympic run. Photo: AFP

Former coach Ben Ryan took to social media and urged the Fiji Rugby Union to pay the players.

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan

Ben Ryan instructs Fiji during his time in charge. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Gareth Baber said the extended Fiji squad have been kept in the loop about what the new contracting arrangement will look like.

"I don't want contracts given to players just because (it's) a piece of paper - this is something that's got to be financially sustainable moving forward within the Fiji Rugby Union," he said.

"There's talks that have been going on and we're not far away from that at the moment - obviously the players have been kept briefed on this and hopefully something for the players will happen in the next few days so we're not far away."

The new Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber

The new Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber Photo: Andy Jones / Hong Kong Rugby Union / AFP

Gareth Baber said his aim was to ensure all obstacles were removed from the players' minds so they can focus on performing at their best on the field.

"I think it's the same as all of us really - especially when you've got family to support and responsibilities to have we're looking for some sort of security that allows you to free up

and play what you want to play.

"My biggest performance driver is to make sure the players mindsets are straight because the reality of Fijian players is that when they are like that they play their best rugby and when they play their best rugby they're one of the best teams in the world."