By BURI GABI
MINISTER for Sports and chairman of the PNGNRL Bid, Philemon Embel, announced yesterday that a consultation programme would be rolled out across the nation shortly in relation to the “PNG all schools rugby league programme.”
The PNGNRL Bid, in partnership with the Department of Education, announced that rugby league would again be played in schools across the nation.
Education Minister James Marape lifted the ban on body contact sports in schools in an announcement at Parliament House last Tuesday with Embel and other members of the NRL Bid team as well as INSPAC Ltd general manager Richard Kassman.
The ‘PNG all schools rugby league programme’ will be introduced throughout PNG, with a pilot programme commencing later this year that will follow a rugby league carnival format.
This is set to expand next year to a full competition season which will extend from provincial to international matches with a PNG representative side to play in Australia.
“All participants can be assured that proper consultation with key stakeholders, particularly school headmasters, will begin soon,” Embel said. “The Bid is committed to ensuring that a code of conduct is agreed to by all participants and advises that details of the programme’s policies and activities will be presented at forums set up.”
The Bid will also be providing extensive accreditation programmes for coaches, referees and administrators.
According to PNGNRL Bid officials many have applauded the support of INSPAC PNG Ltd, and its willingness to sponsor the PNG NRL Bid program.
Embel assured all schools that they certainly have the right to choose their preferred insurance company as part of their normal business practice.
However, the Minister pointed out that schools that choose to participate in the Bid’s ‘PNG All School Rugby League Programme’ will be sponsored by the Bid’s Insurance sponsor INSPAC, which is at no cost to schools or parents.
“We are proud that INSPAC has demonstrated its commitment to the programme and in particular to the youth of PNG and their families.
“Their policy will ensure that all children playing in the Bid’s programme will be fully insured and parents and guardians can have great confidence in the programme.”
A long serving secondary school teacher, Mr Martin Kenehe, last week raised these concerns in The National regarding the insurance aspect of the schoolboys rugby league programme.
Embel, on behalf of the PNGNRL Bid team, said his board would ensure that questions and issues about the reintroduction of rugby league to schools would be looked at in detail before a competition was launched.