The National- Monday, January 17, 2011
THE media war over the use of the Mt Hagen Eagles name for the upcoming 2011 Inter-City Cup season is likely to go to court.
The Mt Hagen Eagles board under Peter Bebi claims that PNGNRL chairman Don Fox ignored an interim court order by making media statements about a likely merger of Mt Hagen Eagles and Mt Hagen Kuris this year.
Bebi, who claims to be the rightful owner of Mt Hagen Eagles name after registering it with Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), said the Mt Hagen Eagles rugby league club is a private entity.
Bebi said in a statement that Fox was creating confusion among Eagles fans.
“Fox’s statement is not consistent with the agreement reached between his board and and the Mt Hagen Eagles board to withdraw their court proceeding and asked us to prepare for 2011 season.
“We (Eagles board) considered the agreement in the best interest of rugby league and withdrew the case for the bemobile Cup to be played last year.
The agreement still remains until Mt Hagen Eagles enter this year’s competition,” he said.
Bebi also cried foul over his K90,000 naming right fees.
He claimed the PNGNRL had yet to repay the Eagles board their 2010 afiliation fee.
In support of Bebi’s claim, the Western Highlands provincial administrator Malcolm Culligan in a letter dated Jan 6, to James K Peri of Warner Shand Lawyers and copied to Fox, asking PNGNRL board or bemobile Cup to release the K50,000.
The money was allocated to Bintangor Mt Hagen Eagles as part of the WHP government’s contribution to assist the provincial team.
The letter reads: “It is the board of directors of Mt Hagen Eagles to decide where they think is appropriate for the good for the club.”
The money was paid to bemobile Cup but the Eagles were excluded from the competition.
Culligan said in the letter that now that the Mt Hagen Eagles were in a position to return to competition, they needed the money to prepare themselves.
The Eagles board through its lawyer Eddie Wamp will return to court in Mt Hagen next month to re-visit the agreement and also clarify who is legitimate owner of Mt Hagen Eagles RFC.
Attempts to contact Fox were unsuccessful.