Muruks, Wigmen may miss Digicel Cup

Normal, Sports

The National, Monday 30th January 2012

STRUCTURAL Bridging System Mendi Muruks and Hela Wigmen could find themselves out of the Digicel Cup this season for failing to meet certain requirements of the PNG National Rugby League.
In its first PNG NRL board meeting at the Lamana Hotel on Saturday, three-time champions Mendi Muruks were given a two-week ultimatum to confirm their interest on participating in the semi-professional league competition.
The Wigmen on the other hand, have a debt of K20,000 from gate takings to settle with the PNG NRL if they were planning to participate this season.
When contacted yesterday, PNG NRL general manager Hubert Warupi said the Wigmen and the Muruks were most likely to face the consequences – to be removed from the competition this season for failing to meet these requirements.
“The concern for Muruks is for the support to come through and for their franchise owner Thomas Higgins to respond,” Warupi said.
“(However), if there is another management handling the club as there is word going around then they should also come through.”
Attempts to contact Muruks patron Pr Isaac Joseph were unsuccessful.
Except for Gulf Isapeas, two clubs have yet to pay their outstanding debts. Isapeas, through the Gulf provincial government were able to settle their K180,000 debt with the PNG NRL at the weekend.
“The K60,000 is to settle their debt and K120,000 is the new fee set by the PNG NRL board to participate in this year’s challenge,” Warupi said. The board had agreed that the franchise fees for this year had risen by 33%.
“The rise in fees was discussed at the board level and all members except for Enga Mioks have accepted K120,000 fee, an increase of K30,000. Considering the huge costs in accommodation and airfares, the board had to raise the fees to meet these expenses.  
“We also had the opportunity to introduce new franchise owner of Chimbu franchise club TNA Lions, Gerald Philip on the board,” Warupi said.