PNG Rugby League CEO quits

10:23 am on 29 October 2020

Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League chief executive Reatau Rau has quit after almost four years in charge.

Outgoing PNG Rugby Football League CEO Reatau Rau.

Outgoing PNG Rugby Football League CEO Reatau Rau. Photo: PNG Rugby League

The outgoing CEO said he verbally advised the PNGRFL Board of his intention to step down at its September meeting in Port Moresby, and on Monday his resignation letter was accepted.

"I had a one on one chat with chairman Sandis Tsaka last Friday that it was mutually agreed for the good of the game, time to move on," he said.

Like everybody else in PNG and around the world, the PNGRFL is going through a difficult time as a result of [the] Covid-19 pandemic we all experience in 2020."

PNG Competition Manager Stanley Hondina, PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tsaka and PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau.

PNG Competition Manager Stanley Hondina, PNGRFL Chair Sandis Tsaka and PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau. Photo: Supplied

Rau said the decision to resign was not an easy one to make and thanked the PNGRFL's staff, sponsors and partners for their support over the past four years, including many who have stuck by them during the global pandemic.

"To Chairman Sandis, a man of vision and mission to resurrect this sport, the sleeping giant called rugby league," he said.

"From Day 1, I wanted to understand what his desire and plans were and we both stood together, with the board members of PNGRFL past and present, the staff and partners to develop Rugby league not only as a sport but more importantly transformed it into a powerful and influencing platform to deliver social and development messages to the population of PNG.

"The whole of PNG together united by the PNGLNG Kumuls, Orchids, SP PNG Hunters, Digicel Cup, the National Schools Rugby League competition and the 50+ Affiliated Leagues around the country at the National Championships".

Hela Wigmen celebrate winning the 2020 Digicel Cup.

PNG Rugby League still managed to play the Digicel Cup in 2020. Photo: Facebook/PNG National Rugby League Competition

Reatau Rau was appointed CEO in January 2017. His three-year term expired in January however his contract was extended whilst the PNGRFL underwent a restructure and dealt with ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Rau said his departure from PNGRFL was the right option for him personally and the game at the large.

PNG National Rugby League Competition Manager Stanley Hondina.

Stanley Hondina will be Acting PNGRFL CEO until a permanent appointment is made. Photo: Screenshot

Chairman Sandis Tsaka acknowledged it was a challenging time for the organisation.

"I want to particularly commend him for your stewardship of the organisation and the sacrifices he and all the staff have had to make during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been especially challenging for us all," he said.

"We understand the difficult times everyone of us has been going through and I appreciate and respect his decision to resign as CEO and on behalf of our wider rugby league family in PNG and abroad, thank him for his enormous contributions to the game. He leaves the organisation in good stead for which we are all grateful."

PNG National Rugby League Competitions Manager Stanley Hondina will take charge as Acting CEO from Monday 2 November.