The Trustees were as shocked as everyone to learn from Social media of the claims being made by the Fijiana 15’s Captain and players. We immediately asked for the Finance Manager to show proof that all payments due the Fijiana 15s for allowances while they were overseas were made and paid into each girls account.
We further requested evidence of the Rooster Chicken Bonus payment of $82,000 having been paid to the 41 players, officials and managers who were part of the Fijiana Drua winning team. The special bonus payment of $8,000 per player in the Fijiana Drua Team, as announced last week by the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth & Sports, has not yet been received and a presentation to the team will be made when the Hon. Minister of Sports returns from overseas. These we believed at that time were the issues and an audit that all payments had been made, was conducted by myself, Cathy Wong, from Oceania Womens Rugby and the Interim Administrator. The Press release of Thursday was confirmation from Fiji Rugby that the Bonus payment and allowances as advised by Finance had all been given to each woman. The Finance policy for Fiji Rugby Teams, I am advised has always been, that when either our Mens or Womens Teams are competing at the highest level, being the World Cup or the Olympic Games then the allowance paid overseas is $300.00 per day. For all other Overseas competitions including Tests and Oceania events an allowance of $100.00 is paid. This is where the confusion lay and why the previous Press statement claimed they had been fully paid. In the meantime I personally contacted the Captain, Sereima Leweniqila who is still overseas, to address the issues she had raised, and learned that the major concern of the women was that for this Oceania event, they had been promised a payment of $300.00 per day and not the $100 per day they had received. Today further investigations and evidence received have shown that the women were promised $300.00 per day, as claimed, despite the Rugby Allowance policy. I can only apologize to the women who represented Fiji so proudly in our Fijiana 15’s and Fijiana Drua Teams and will call my fellow Trustees to a meeting early next week to enable us to review everything and correct the situation. During my further discussions with Sereima I also learned that the women who represented us at the Womens 15’s World Cup last year were also underpaid and that they had not received any response from Rugby House to their queries. Today on investigating I can confirm to all those women in that team, that again, yes they were underpaid and are due a payment of $600.00 per player. This will also be finalized at the Trustee Meeting. I feel I must thank all of those great women’s rugby players who had the strength and honesty to come out and bring their rights to the Trustees attention, I am only sorry that they were forced to use the social media platform to achieve what is their right due to promises made. The Trustees wish to meet our Womens Rugby representatives as soon as possible to address all other issues they have raised and to obtain their help in guiding us in the restructuring and the organization of Fiji Rugby as a professional body moving forward.