League administrators cautious

Normal, Sports

The National- Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 PNGRFL chairman-elect Bryan Kramer and former PNGRFL executive Eric Kuman have expressed their concerns about government moves to wrest control of the PNGRFL through parliament.

Kramer in a release yesterday said he welcomed more government support for the code but rejected plans by Sports Minister Philemon Embel to have the government officially become the caretakers and directors of the sport.

 “PNGRFL is a registered non-governmental organisation, making it a legal entity under an Act of Law,” Kramer said. 

“It’s sole purpose is to govern rugby league in the country in accordance with its national constitution. 

“It is a founding member of the International Rugby League Federation and reserves the legal right to manage its own affairs.

“We all share the same concerns with the ongoing politics at the executive level. However its important we all use common sense and adopt a pragmatic approach to the issues in question. 

“It makes no sense addressing the recent political issue by handing PNGRFL over to the most politicised institution in the country – the national government. 

Kramer cautioned the instigators of the bill that their objectives would be tantamount to disregarding the country’s judicial system.

“The courts have already given directives to resolve the recent dispute. 

“Any plans for the government to step in would be prejudicial,” he said.

Kramer then challenged Embel to clean up his own backyard.

“The minister should concentrate his efforts on building the capacity of the existing government sporting institutions. 

“He should find ways to actually develop and implement programmes and facilities that would equally serve all sports not just rugby league. 

“A more pressing issue should be to deal with recent allegations of the misuse of funds facing the PNG Sports Foundation. 

“It’s best to let PNGRFL deal with its affairs and its politics under the directives of its own constitution. 

“The minister should be making efforts to work along side PNGRFL in partnership rather than attempting to take over it,” Kramer said.

Former PNGRFL executive Eric Kuman made it clear he was not a huge fan of Embel’s appraoch to take absolute control although like Kramer he too was partial to more government involvement in the sport.

Kuman said the minister’s idea and approach was good but he needed to be more proactive by conducting road-shows and obtaining views and comments from the public, major leagues, grassroot leagues and prominent league administrators before putting in place an Act of Parliament. 

He charged that Embel’s decisions and motives seemed to serve more the PNGNRL Bid team’s plan than the actual PNG rugby league community.

Kuman added that the PNGRFL board was elected by affiliated associations to run the organisation independently and to avoid poltics and simply serve the players, officials and fans under it. 

“I think this process (consultation) was not done and whatever he is doing is viewed as an attempt to suit the PNGNRL Bid team,” he said.

Kuman said the government should not take away the independence of the sporting organisations and other entities just to satisfy its political whims. 

“They (government) are not better managers if the current allegations of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds by PNG Sports Foundation is anything to go by.”

Kuman said he would fully endorse the government if it was subsidising  rugby league and only providing a representative on the PNGRFL board – failing that, it would be seen as a desperate attempt to take control for the minister and the NRL bid team’s ends.