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Vosarogo takes blame over Fiji Bati Saga

February 8, 2018 1:03 am

Fiji National Rugby League chair, Filimoni Vosarogo has taken full responsibility over the payment issues and other problems faced by the Vodafone Fiji Bati players during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

When questioned by FBC Sports on the recent statement released by Bati captain Kevin Naiqama where he labeled the sporting body as unprofessional, Vosarogo replied he takes full blame of what had transpired.

Naiqama has also raised concerns on player’s discontent over the passport, visa and payment issues.

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“As the chairman of the FNRL at the material time, I take for the full responsibility on the issues that have a reason during the Rugby League campaign and I will go to the AGM with that responsibility.”

In the statement, Naiqama also called the FNRL board members to be voted out.

To this, Vosarogo said they will wait for their fate until the AGM that is held on April 7th.

“There are mechanism people want the board to change and of course it comes through the AGM mechanism and it doesn’t come in any other way and it’s at the AGM where the members will decide my fate as the chairman and as well as of my board.”

Despite all this, Vosarogo has confirmed the players will receive their payment within two weeks.

Meanwhile this was the statement made by Kevin Naiqama yesterday.

Fiji Bati captain Kevin Naiqama has called for the Fiji National Rugby League board to be voted out and he re-iterated the players will boycott until they get their World Cup prize money.

New Zealand’s One News reports, Naiqama blasted the current regime as “unprofessional” as he opened up on the players’ discontent over passport, visa and payment issues during last year’s tournament.

He revealed how the squad’s player manager was sacked, while the passports of Ashton Sims, Korbin Sims and coach Mick Potter were lost – all in the first week of camp.

Forward Viliame Kikau was also close to missing their semi-final defeat to Australia after being stuck in New Zealand due to an expired visa.

He says it was really unprofessional and it’s always been like that within the FNRL.

He says what they have experienced was not good enough, and they have come to an agreement as a playing group that they will stand down from any Fiji Bati Tests until they are paid.

The players’ biggest gripe is over the late transfers of $35 allowances provided by the tournament that were believed to be topped up by the FNRL.

Naiqama claimed the delayed payments lasted the entire campaign, and almost forced the squad to pull out of an appearance before the Fijian High Commission in Canberra.

Naiqama says it was only a last-ditch meeting with the Bati’s leadership group – involving NRL stars Jarryd Hayne, Akuila Uate and Api Koroisau – that prevented a possible revolt.

But it is the failure to pass on the $125,000 prize money from reaching the semi-finals that was the final straw for the playing group, and Naiqama said the players’ demanded change.

Naiqama said there was a contract they signed that has everything in black-and-white.

He said FNRL was happy to give them 100 per cent of the prize money and it’s something they have not received.

He said they had countless meetings with Chief Executive Officer Timoci Naleba and FNRL Chairperson Filimoni Vosarogo which they thought went really well, but ended up as blatant lies.

Naiqama said the group’s main concern was for the non-fulltime players.

He said one day they actually called the FNRL office and were told the lady that was supposed to pay it didn’t want to turn up that day to put the money into the accounts.

He said the players in the squad, not many of them are on full-time contracts.
He said some are called to support for their families and were relying on that money.

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