Vol. 5 No. 2
FRFU TO LOSE NEEDED REVENUE
By SHERYL HO
THE Fiji Rugby Football Union will lose vital revenue through sponsorship and gate takings unless stability resumes in the country. Fiji Rugby Football Union's (FRFU) chief executive, Bob Challenor, said: In terms of sponsorship, the timing of the unrest didn't help.
Mr Chancellor was in Japan for the team's first game in the Epson Cup series and met with three Japanese corporations which were interested in sponsoring various sections of the FRFU. But since the crisis the situation has changed.
Countries don't want to invest into Fiji rugby unless stability resumes, Mr Challenor said. The FRFU is living in the present and is remaining positive that countries won't go to the extent of boycotting Fiji's participation. But we will develop a contingency plan if we have to.
Mr Challenor said that domestically, tournaments like the Fiji Telecom Cup had been postponed due to the takeover of the democratically elected government. There is also the problem about Fiji's unpredictable weather and the unavailability of grounds. At a national level, Fiji's home game against Tonga was resheduled to Tonga's Teufaiva Park - which maybe the trend for upcoming tests to be played in Fiji.
Originally the test was to be played at Suva's National Stadium, then was moved to Lautoka's Churchill Park after consultation with the International Rugby Board (IRB), he said. He said the sponsors Seiko Epson Corporation required a television broadcast of the series and this was being provided by TV New Zealand.
They (TVNZ) needed to fly in a crew and $1 million worth of equipment which insurance companies won't insure, Mr Challenor said. The New Zealand government has also advised all its citizens not to come into Fiji and the option was to postpone the test or move it to Tonga.
This has meant a loss of revenue to the FRFU and from a rugby view, it has disrupted the preparation for the test having to move the game out of Fiji. If this continues, Fiji will lose a home advantage where the odds to win a home game against island nations are easier.
However, teams will be advised by their governments whether or not they should come and decisions will be made prior to the test matches, Mr Challenor said. He added the comments made by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon to the press that Fiji sports would suffer if Fiji was no longer a member of the Commonwealth were premature.
There is a possibility if governments apply pressure, such as they did with South Africa during the apartheid period, Fiji may be asked not to participate in international and regional matches, Mr Challenor said.
In the latest developments, Scotland has cancelled a Fiji tour in July, New Zealand has turned down an offer to play Fiji, and Australia is soon to follow.
In the Epson Cup, Canada and the American Eagles are planning to boycott their matches against Fiji. The trend could catch on rapidly.
File created: 3 June 2000
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