Fiji Rugby has today clarified that player welfare issues were seriously discussed and acknowledged during the negotiations of our commercial partnership with Fiji Kava.
CEO John O’Connor clarified that from the outset of the negotiations, player welfare was paramount and as such there is no contractual obligation on players to use kava capsules as their performance recovery programs.
The decision to join in partnership with Fiji Kava, as a global distributor of noble kava products is a commercial decision and allows Fiji Rugby and our teams to respond to our traditional and customary obligations of which kava plays a significant and important role and our partnership with Fiji Kava has allowed us to respond to these obligations with minimum costs.
Kava has a special place in our culture and tradition and in the same way Fiji Rugby supports and develops the nation’s rugby talent; Fiji Kava supports and develops the farmers, manufacturers and yaqona produced across Fiji, distributing it to the world.
It must also be acknowledged that a significant number of our domestic players and those who play in Club Rugby in our islands are yaqona farmers and rely on the sale of kava products to support their families.
Fiji Rugby are emphatically committed to the governing laws of World Rugby in particular the anti-doping protocols and guidelines in play and will never place athlete wellbeing or high performance at a risk.
No player under Fiji Rugby responsibility would ever be supplied a prohibited or untested substance.
Fiji Rugby’s High Performance and sports medical department work closely with all parts of the organization and have full support in their role as managing the wellbeing of our athletes and ensuring the mitigation of any potential risks to performance.
To suggest a commercial partnership would overrule the High-Performance unit’s dedication to elite performance practice is abhorrent.
We are proud of the role rugby plays in showcasing Fiji to the world and just like our other global partners we are proud to support Fiji Kava for also taking the beauty of Fiji to the rest of the world.
Lastly, it is well known that Pacific Island players usually consume kava to socialize in their leisure.