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Chinese company steps in to aid ‘insolvent’ Samoa Rugby Union

Joe Perez skips away from a Kenyan, scoring a second half try in Samoa's 26-7 trouncing of Kenya at Canada Sevens, Day 2, BC Place, Vancouver, Canada in March of this year.   [Photo by Barry Markowitz, 3/12/17]

More than WST$350,000 (€119,000/$138,000) has been generated in a fundraiser for the Samoa Rugby Union after SRU chairman, and the Pacific Island nation’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, declared that the sport’s governing body was “insolvent”.

Tuilaepa had earlier stated that the union was unable to “pay off our debts with the banks” or fund player wages. He also said the SRU had no money to pay for its players’ insurance. However, following the fundraiser, which was televised live by local broadcaster TV1, it was announced that the money pledged was some WST$354,000. The Samoa Observer newspaper said this included a donation of more than WST$150,000 from a Chinese company.

The proceeds will go towards the insurance for the men’s national team who are in Europe for their Northern Hemisphere tour, which starts against Scotland on Saturday. It will also be used to pay the wages of coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, whose appointment is being contested by the sport’s global governing body World Rugby. 

“Compared to powerful and resourceful rugby nations with the financial capacities complemented by millions in pool players to select their national sides, Samoa’s meagre population of a little over 180,000 to pick our best cannot compete,” Tuilaepa said, according to the Observer.

“On that note, I commend our overseas based players who have put country before money by committing to play and represent Samoa not only in rugby but in rugby league and other sports disciplines.

Read more at Sport Business