The National, Friday 31st August, 2012
By KEITH PUARIA
THE O’Neill government has taken matters into its own hands to get rugby league back to where it should be, as the number one national sport.
This sentiment was echoed by Public Enterprises Minister Ben Micah, Minister for Sports and Pacific Games Justin Tkatchenko and Sports Vice-Minister Labi Amaiu at yesterday’s presentation of Telikom’s K500,000 commitment to the Papua New Guinea Kumuls, reaffirming their naming rights of the team.
The government will add another K500,000, making the total K1 million in funding for the Kumuls to prepare for the Prime Minister’s XIII match this month and the World Cup next year.
Telikom acting chief executive officer Charles Litau handed the cheque over to PNGRFL interim administrator Ivan Ravu.
“We are here for you, we don’t care what happens in court or in administration, we just want to ensure that our national team has the support to play at the next level, and today’s presentation confirms this,” Litau said.
Micah was positive but firm in his appraisal on the game’s prospect.
“The Kumuls and their loyal fans deserve better than the mess that has existed in rugby league this season,” Micah told a packed Telikom boardroom.
“This Government will put a stop to such nonsense.
“We will ensure that sporting administrations, many of which receive some form of government support, are no longer fighting it out in court.
If we have internal issues, they will be required to settle them through compromise and mediation, the Melanesian way.”
“Rugby League is a game for the people and we can’t allow individuals to spoil the game for the rest of the rugby league fraternity and the country,” Tkatchenko added.
“We’re going to sort this once and for all, and make sure the right thing is done.”
Micah, present too on behalf of the PM as patron of the annual challenge, further pledged an additional K500,000 from the Government, which would be handed over by the Prime Minister at a later date.
The total of K1million has been earmarked especially for the Kumuls preparations for the upcoming Prime Minsters XIII match, now confirmed for September 23, and their lead up preparations for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Part of the money would also be used to bring Lloyd Robson Oval, the premier rugby league venue in the country, to a standard fit to host the national showcase, as well as get the games administration working again.
Ravu thanked Telikom for their ongoing support of the rugby league and committed on behalf of the office to work towards reinstating its standard and quality off and on the field.
Present at the conference were representatives from the National Gaming Control Board, Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited, and Telikom senior management and staff.