FORMER PNGNRL Bid board director and rugby league great Mal Meninga yesterday reaffirmed his resignation from the board in an email sent to bid chairman and Sports Minister Philemon Embel.
The one-page message which was in response to Embel’s letter sent to Meninga earlier in the week, notifying him of his new position as PNG NRL Bid Ambassador, said he (Meninga) was in an “untenable” position with regards to his position as a board director.
“I recognise the letter sent to me by your office indicating my position as a board member had become redundant.
“I also acknowledge your offer of becoming an ambassador for the PNGNRL Bid, however, in light of my experience of being involved at board level with the bid, I cannot accept any position under its current format.”
Meninga said despite being genuinely excited about PNG’s NRL aspirations he felt strongly that his continued involvement with the current board was not in the best interests of the bid even though he was passionate about its objectives. “There is no doubt that my standing in the game of rugby league can be an asset to the Bid.
“I have always unselfishly put the game of rugby league first in all my decisions regarding the game.
“I was deeply honoured and genuinely excited when I received the opportunity by the Hon Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare to be part of a nation-building initiative that is so important to the future of PNG,” Meninga said.
He said he could not work with the current Bid management team under its present leadership.
“It would be highly undesirable and foolhardy that I be involved in any entity that I am in direct conflict with.
“Whilst my passion for the Papua New Guinean people and its national sport hasn’t diminished, I decline your offer as an Ambassador for the PNG NRL Bid.
“In fact, I’m strongly against any continued association with the board and its bid members under its present direction.”
Meninga’s comments have added further doubt to the PNGNRL Bid’s ability to gain support where it counts the most, at the National Rugby League headquarters in Sydney.
Meanwhile the PNGNRL Bid team yet to make public their response to the latest boardroom reshuffles instead opting to explain the current changes as a ‘restructuring’ of the bid team.
In related news PNG Sports Foundation chairman Graham Osborne was appointed as a new board director of the Bid team as it continues its streamlining process at the board level. A sponsor’s representative will also be part of the board.
Osborne, a former president of PNG Rugby Union, will join Embel and Governor Powes Parkop on the board while Paul Broughton has accepted an ongoing position as the strategic advisor to the Bid.
Paul Broughton and bid manageress Bev Broughton in an interview with the National yesterday denied claims that they were highly paid consultants.
They said all positions on the board were honorary and did not entail consultancy fees.
The Broughtons further claimed they were maintaining the PNGNRL Bid office on the Gold Coast at their own cost.
They said the PNGNRL Bid could not be derailed by claims lacking clear evidence and this would only damage the hard work and commitment that has already been put in by the bid team.
Paul Broughton further clarified that recent some changes made at board level were for the sake of efficiency.
Mr. Broughtom was initially a board director but had his role changed to strategic advisor, while Meninga’s new designation was to be official senior ambassador for the bid.