25 Aug 2018

Sport: FRU criticises Pacific Rugby Players Welfare campaign

10:06 am on 25 August 2018

The Fiji Rugby Union have joined their Samoan counterparts in criticising a campaign by Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, that aims to highlight the lack of Pacific representation on the World Rugby Council.

The 'Seats At The Table' campaign was launched two weeks ago to draw attention to the fact that Samoa, Tonga and Fiji have no direct representation on the council, while Oceania Rugby, which represents 12 countries in the region, holds just two of the 48 votes.

Fiji ran in six tries against Georgia.

Fiji are the Pacific Nations Cup champions. Photo: Zoomfiji

Fiji Rugby Union CEO John O'Connor does not support the campaign and says the FRU Council and Board of Directors are well aware of the criteria that have to be met by member unions in order to be granted a Council Seat.

He said over the last three years the FRU Board has driven an agenda to reform the Fiji Rugby Union to ensure compliance to best practices in governance, financial management, customer services and good business practice.

"We have submitted our application for inclusion as a member on the World Rugby Council based on the hard work, commitment and drive from the FRU Board supported by the FRU Council and we have no association with (Pacific Rugby Players Welfare Director) Dan Leo, nor has he any involvement with the FRU. Further, he does not speak on behalf of FRU nor our players".

The Fiji Rugby Union said it was working closely with Pacific Rugby Players, who it recognises as the official representative of Fijian rugby players.

"I am proud to say that we are the first Pacific Union to have a partnership Agreement with PRP which had resulted in the first full-time Professional Development Manager based in the FRU and working closely with all our elite players, clubs, schools and our national teams," said O'Connor.

"Further we are proud to have been able to negotiate pro-player agreements with PRP for our Fijian Drua players. As such, we acknowledge that the PRP are the only recognised representatives of Pacific Rugby Players."

Fiji and Samoa Rugby Unions have submitted applications to World Rugby for inclusion on the Council, which will be considered the governing body next month.

The Fijiana huddle during day two of the Paris Sevens.

Fiji excels in world sevens but has no seat on the World Rugby Council. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby