The National, Wednesday July 1st, 2012
By HENRY MORABANG
PAPUA New Guinea Rugby Football League interim administrator Ivan Ravu says a court decision in its favour will allow for stability so they can get on with the serious business of running the game.
Ravu said there had been too many court proceedings and challenges taken out against the PNGRFL over the past four years and that had seriously affected the image of rugby league as the national sport in the country.
“The game has suffered a lot over the past few years and it will take a lot of effort to bring back confidence and trust in the administration of the game,” he said.
“We need to win back the support of the corporate sector as rugby league, like any other sport thrives on the good-will and support of business houses.
“There are a number of important fixtures coming up this and next year and we need to focus on that.
“The PNGRFL International events for this year include the Prime Minister’s XIII match on Sunday, Sept 23, PNG national 9s tournament, the possibility of a two-match tour to PNG by the USA Tomahawks later this year and Kumuls pre-World Cup match with an Australian NRL team in Sydney in February next year.
“The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has already sanctioned these international fixtures in its last meeting in London in May this year.
“PNGRFL was represented at that meeting by the director of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) John Numapo, who is an executive board member of the RLIF.
Ravu said for the upcoming PM’s XIII match, national selectors had started looking at players from the Digicel Cup to pick a training squad of 40 players.
He said they would consider players from the Queensland Intrust Cup, Australian NRL and Super League in England. “This will enable PNG to field a strong team for the World Cup in 2013,” Ravu said.
He said the management of the Digicel Cup had been informed that all players taking part in the competition must be registered with the PNGRFL before they could be considered for selection.
So far only clubs affiliated to the Lae Rugby League are complying with player registration fees to PNGRFL account in Port Moresby.
Attempts have been made with the other affiliated leagues but the response has been poor.
The Participation Agreement with the Rugby League World Cup 2013 was signed last month, witnessed by the secretary general of PNG Olympic Committee Auvita Rapilla in order for PNG to take part in the World Cup.
The draws have now been released for the preliminary matches against France on Sunday, October 2, and Samoa on Monday, November 4, at Craven Park, in Hull, and against New Zealand on November 8 in Leeds.
Ravu said discussions were already under way with some major airlines in the region for a ‘supporters’ package’ for those who wanted to attend the World Cup next year.
Negotiations for Kumuls sponsorship have already started with a number of potential sponsors expressing interest.
“We are looking at a major sponsor who will have the naming rights and a number of minor sponsors for the different international fixtures coming up, including the World Cup.
“The venue of the Prime Minister’s XIII match is subject to the state of Lloyd Robson Oval, which was inspected and a report sent to Sydney for a decision,” he said.