Sport Rugby

Saturday 25 February 2017

IRB threatens to expel Fiji after military 'coup' attempt

THE International Rugby Board has threatened Fiji with expulsion, which would prevent the island nation from taking part in this year's World Cup. The threats come after the country's military regime attempted to depose the entire Fiji Rugby Union.

The government of military leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama threatened to withhold $3m Fiji dollars (€1.2m) in funding for its World Cup bid unless the board and executive members of the Fiji Rugby Union resigned over alleged mismanagement of a fundraising lottery.

But the international board have warned Fiji that any contravention of the union's constitution could result in its expulsion from the world body and its exclusion from international rugby. The Fiji Rugby Union yesterday declined to accept the resignation of its chief executive Keni Dakuidreketi, suggesting it had been emboldened by the IRB ultimatum.

On the pitch, Fiji beat Wales in the 2007 World Cup to reach the quarter-finals and have just finished an encouraging tour of Europe that saw them secure a draw at the Millennium Stadium.

But they may not get to show their wares in New Zealand after the IRB warned Fiji that "in light of the prevailing circumstances that there should be no changes within the senior management structures of FRU."

The IRB has scheduled a special general meeting for next Saturday.

Irish Independent

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