IRB brokers deal in Fiji row
February 19, 2011
Fiji are set to take their place at the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
The IRB has brokered an agreement with the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) and the island's government that will see planned investment in their Rugby World Cup bid go ahead.
IRB chief executive Mike Miller and regional general manager for Oceania William Glenwright travelled to Suva in February after the union's board was forced to step down when the government refused to bankroll the team's World Cup campaign due to the alleged mismanagement of a lottery designed to raise funds for their participation.
The IRB delegation met with the minister for sport, Filipe Bole, and the board of the union to discuss the government's concerns, its commitment to rugby and issues surrounding the valid application of the FRU constitution.
"I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will ensure that the Fiji Rugby Union can continue to drive forward the game nationally, while also ensuring that the focus of the national team remains firmly on preparing for Rugby World Cup 2011," Miller said.
"The spirit of the meetings was extremely positive and I would like to thank the Fiji government for its dedication and contribution to the process and its full support of rugby in Fiji."
"All three parties want to ensure a framework for the Fiji national team to perform to the best of its abilities in New Zealand and it is encouraging that we now have an agreement in place that underscores this objective. The government's financial support is both generous and unprecedented."
The FRU and the government agreed on five points in the wake of the talks, with those involved in the lottery standing down from the FRU board pending the result of ongoing legal proceedings into the matter.
The commerce commission will release paperwork to allow the FRU to complete its lottery report, which will then be subject to scrutiny by the commission and any other legal entity as required by law, and elections to the FRU Board will be held as planned at the AGM in April.
The FRU CEO's resignation is to be accepted or otherwise by the newly elected FRU Board and the government grant of FJ$ 3 million will be paid in accordance with accounting and monitoring procedures.
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