Sunday 22 September 2019

World Rugby under pressure on two fronts due to desperate financial situation in Samoa

Samoa take on Scotland this weekend
Samoa take on Scotland this weekend Newsdesk Newsdesk

World Rugby have been urged to intervene to help the cash-strapped Samoan rugby union (SRU) after their chairman declared them as being 'bankrupt'.

Samoa's struggles have been overshadowed by the fallout from last week's review into the three rivals bids for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland and France have expressed strong reservations about the review process after South Africa were revealed as World Rugby's preferred candidate.

IRFU CEO Philip Browne has sent a strongly-worded letter to World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper outlining nine key questions that the Irish Union want answered in relation to the review.

As pressure builds on World Rugby ahead of the November 15 secret ballot of World Rugby board members which will ultimately decide the 2023 hosts, Samoan rugby is in a state of turmoil.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi,  who is also the chair of the SRU, has claimed that his union are unable to pay off debts with banks and also need funds to pay players in the Manu Samoa sevens and fifteens squads.

The Union is holding a fundraising radiothon today in at attempt to address the union's dire financial situation with the help of the general public.

“We are bankrupt,” he told the Samoa Observer.

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“In other words we are insolvent. It means the Union cannot continue to pay off our debts with the banks. We also need money to pay the players so they can continue to play.”

He also confirmed that the SRU had not money to pay for the insurance of Manu Samoa players preparing to play Scotland this weekend.

It was revealed over the weekend that Samoan players are due to receive £650 (€730) each in match fees when they play England, compared to the £22,000 (€25,000) received by each of their opponents.

Manu Tuilagi told the Mail on Sunday at the weekend: "A rugby world without Samoa is no rugby world to me. It would be very, very sad. There’s so much potential. With the right infrastructure and management, they can be as good as any team in the world."

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