Lagatois cry foul after missing out

National, Normal

The National – Friday, February 11, 2011

CENTRAL Lagatois, one of the three intending franchises for the new Digicel Cup season, have expressed their disappointment at being overlooked by the PNGNRL board.
Lagatois bid presenter and board member Ivan Ravu, along with members of the franchise’s organising team,  are unhappy with the direction in which rugby league, especially the country’s leading competition, is heading.
Ravu, in a press release yesterday, said the whole point of the Central Lagatois getting into the Digicel Cup was for players from the Southern region to have real representation in the elite competition.
The two capital city franchises have players predominantly from the Highlands region, which was unfair on Papuan players.
Ravu said a lot of effort had been put into satisfying the PNGNRL requirements and they were the first franchise to present last December, and providing a detailed planincluding player development and recruitment, sustainable funding sources and sites for a homeground. 
For the Lagatois to miss out was not only disappointing for the region but add salt to injury when yet another Highlands franchise won. This had led to a team led by one of the best sports administrator in the country, Ivan Ravu to have team Central in the intercity cup.
A lot of effort was used in preparing their detailed submissions to the PNGNRL board and they were the first to be in person to present that on the 11th of December last year in Lae.
Naming the team as Central Lagatois rugby league team, they are now disappointed that they were overlooked despite meeting all the criteria set by the PNGNRL and accepted yet another Highlands team (Huli Wigmen).
“On behalf of the Interim Board of Directors of Central Lagatois rugby league club and myself, we are very disappointed on the decision made by the PNGNRL board in overlooking our application to participate in this year’s competition,” Central governor, Alphonse Moroi said in his press release sent late last night.
Moroi said: “We believe that Lagatois’ application should be given priority considering that Port Moresby, the Nation’s capital and is in Central Province and that Lagatois is a local application for our home ground.”
Interim board member Ivan Ravu said the team had worked very hard and during the board meeting in Lae, a full detailed and supporting documents such as the budget, a business plan and letter from the Chairman of the PRL Labi Amaiu to hire the Llyd Robson Oval on Saturday for home game were still not considered.
“This in fact is really unfair when yet we complain that the Kumuls is dominated by Highlands. They should have picked either the Gulf Isapeas or the Lagatois; and from that a fair selection could be made and a fair representation from all regions,” current team manager of the Telikom Kumuls to the Four Nations, Tonny Sipa said this after PNGNRL announced Wigmen as the 10th team in the competition.
Lagatois had a budget of K880,000 was submitted including a letter from Provincial government support with another K300,000 per annum for the next three years which the Lagatois RLC knew was more enough to be considered for a spot.
“Our business plans also reflect other source of revenue including potential support sponsors for the teams operations. We are really disappointed and not happy with the outcome,” Ravu said.