SPORTS Minister and chairman of the PNG NRL Bid Philemon Embel issued a stern warning to foreigners not to involve themselves in the affairs of the PNG Rugby Football League.
He was responding to a report in The National yesterday in which former Kumul coach Bob Bennett, who held the reins for 11 years (1996-2006), questioned the election of the new PNGRFL board under chairman-elect Gary Juffa.
He criticised Bennett for interfering with PNGRFL of which he was not part of any longer.
“Bob Bennett has no role in PNG rugby league. He had his chance and we all know how that went.
“He is a failed coach who oversaw a period of rugby league in which the Kumuls performed badly,” Embel said.
“I will not allow any one from outside to influence how PNG rugby league is run.
“He should keep his views to himself as I will not tolerate anyone destabilising PNG rugby league by airing their personal opinions in the media,” Embel cautioned.
Embel was incensed at media reports which quoted Bennett belittling proceedings by PNGRFL member affiliates last month who elected a new chairman in Juffa.
“I do not want to see foreigners thinking they can get away with saying whatever they like about rugby league in the country.
“If Bob Bennett wants to make a difference in rice or with the North Queensland Cowboys, then he can do that in Townsville,” Embel quipped.
The Sports Minister said he would not tolerate other non-Papua New Guineans making comments on the current board room tussle within the PNGRFL ranks, adding it was a matter for locals to solve.
Meanwhile, former PNGRFL chairman Albert Veratau is expected to make a statement for the first time today since news of PNGRFL’s turmoil hit the headlines this week.