December 14, 2016 7:40 am

SODELPA proposes $30,000 contract to retain 7s players

The Social Democratic Liberal Party has called on the Fiji Rugby Union to contract Fiji 7s players. SODELPA President, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said that the FRU should not “shoot the messenger” by attacking former coach Ben Ryan’s as Ryan’s leadership had been exemplary. LALABALAVU: “The (Fiji 7s team) were unequalled Ambassadors for Fiji and their […]

The Social Democratic Liberal Party has called on the Fiji Rugby Union to contract Fiji 7s players.

SODELPA President, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said that the FRU should not “shoot the messenger” by attacking former coach Ben Ryan’s as Ryan’s leadership had been exemplary.

LALABALAVU: “The (Fiji 7s team) were unequalled Ambassadors for Fiji and their sportsmanship, the flawless performance and their humility and chivalrous display of respect for the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, as she presented their gold medals won the respect and admiration of the whole world,”

Ratu Naiqama recommended that all players be on a $30,000 per annum contract with the sponsors footing the bill.

LALABALAVU: “This is where the $40m sponsorship by Vodafone is to be used by the FRU. After all, the team’s Rio win is also a win for the sponsors, so it is only right that they are contracted and paid handsomely for their efforts for our nation.”

The SODELPA President called on the sports ministry to support the FRU in retaining the 7s players.

Ryan labels FRU’s attacks as “ridiculously childish”

December 13 – Former Fiji 7s head coach Ben Ryan has labelled the Fiji Rugby Union’s criticisms of his recent comments as “ridiculously childish”.

The former Fiji 7s head coach is locked in a war of words with Fiji Rugby over 7s player contracts.
The former Fiji 7s head coach is locked in a war of words with Fiji Rugby over 7s player contracts.

Ryan took to Twitter after the FRU released a statement yesterday afternoon on Ryan’s claims that 7s players were not contracted and were unpaid for the past three months.

RYAN: “I have only said positive things about everyone and one tweet that tells the truth hits a chord.”

The former coach also praised the 7s players and coaches.

RYAN: “The players and coaches in last two tournaments were excellent…Naca and boys were great last two weeks. Not one player or coach should get anything other than praise.”

FRU lashes out at Ryan, confirms 7s players were paid

December 12 – The Fiji Rugby Union is disappointed at former 7s coach Ben Ryan’s remarks about the Vodafone Fiji 7s Team and tweets about the performance of the team.

Ben Ryan's recent tweets have angered the FRU CEO John O'Conner.
Ben Ryan’s tweets have angered the FRU CEO John O’Conner.

In a strongly-worded statement, FRU CEO Mr John O’Conner clarified that all players had been paid their allowances in camp and on tour for the two tournaments.

However, the CEO confirmed that the player’s contract had expired after the Rio Olympics.

O’CONNER: “All the players that were selected for the first leg of the IRB Series revolved around Ben Ryans extended squad. Their employment contracts with FRU expired after the Olympics. They, however, have all been paid their relevant allowances while in camp and while on tour for the two tournaments.”

The CEO also confirmed that FRU had not lost sponsorship and was having discussions with the Fiji National Sports Commission and sponsors regarding the contracting of men and women players.

Mr O’Conner added that while Ryan’s contribution was appreciated, it seemed that it was difficult for Ryan to move on.

O’CONNER: “He has chosen to move on to other challenges which we respect and all have accepted but it seems it is difficult for him to move on…It is no longer Ben Ryan’s team and Ben must understand this and he must allow our new coach Baber to deal with the issues…”

The CEO highlighted that Gareth Baber arrives next month and should be allowed to select and contract his own team, similar to Ryan’s start to his contract with the FRU.

Ryan had earlier today tweeted that players in the Fiji 7s squad had not been paid for the past three months.

RYAN: “…FRU – please start paying these amazing men. No one contracted again….”

Responding to a tweet from a fan that expressed disbelief at Ryan’s statement, the former 7s coach tweeted, “it’s true, unfortunately – no contracts given out three months into the season.”