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Naleba clarifies Fiji Bati World Cup payment

February 6, 2018 5:32 pm

The National Rugby League will not be able to disburse the 2017 World Cup funds to the Fiji Bati players as of now due to legal implications.

Fiji National Rugby League Chief Executive Timoci Naleba says this was relayed to him yesterday after the Bati players threatened to boycott future league tests claiming they have not been paid for making last year’s World Cup semi-final.

Naleba says the NRL is claiming they are finding difficulties disbursing funds into the individual accounts of the Bati players due to some restrictions.

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“There are tax implications and superannuation and also there would be some enquiry on how they come to handle the funds on behalf of FNRL although we’ve been doing it in the past because it’s a huge amount and the Australian government might inquire further on that and the NRL doesn’t want to engage in that.”

Naleba says there would not have been any issue if the payment was done using the usual channel.

“Straight after the world cup, they disburse it to all different national bodies but that didn’t happen with us. The fact that we had an agreement with the players. If it would have come to us it would have been disbursing straight away.”

Overseas media reports that RLWC officials confirmed they paid $125,000 prize money to the FNRL after their third straight semi-final appearance in the tournament. However, Naleba says they didn’t receive any such amount.

Naleba adds they are now working with legal firms to open an account in Australia so the payments can be deposited there and then directed to the Bati’s individual account.

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