The National, Wednesday 23rd November 2011
By KEVIN TEME
THE National Government will continue to back the PNG National Rugby League Bid because it is a viable project.
He put to rest recent claims that it was no longer operational.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was responding to the PNG NRL Bid’s submission which outline its programmes and plans on what needed to be undertaken to secure an NRL licence in future.
“Let me reiterate that neither I nor the government has made any decision that would determine the Bid not to be viable project of the government. You should continue business as usual.
“The programmes outlined are significant and I am pleased that rugby league is finally being developed and structured professionally. I urge you to continue the programmes and report them frequently to the sports minister and the NEC,” O’Neill said in his letter to the PNG NRL Bid CEO, Brad Tassell, yesterday.
However, The National’s request for a copy of O’Neill’s letter was turned down.
Tassel said: “Sorry, it is a private letter addressed to me and as such I believe it is not the right thing to do to pass it on. I requested and was given approval to use sections of the letter in the press release sent.”
He said the letter was delivered to him on a hard copy early this month. Tassell thanked the O’Neill and the government for their support of the Bid’s commercial and rugby league development programmes.
“We are very committed to putting in place what needs to be done to assist in the development of rugby league in PNG,” he said.
Tassell said the programmes in his submission to O’Neill were the national all schools junior development, coaches and officials’ education and the Queensland Cup programmes.
The Bid also outlined its desire to work with all major rugby league bodies in PNG to provide an united effort to develop the game nationally.
“In 2011, we will have spent more than K800,000 on our junior development programme with significant results and outcomes.
“We are now fielding calls from all over PNG to be part of the programme,” Tassel said.
“We are looking at extending it to include the U19 competition,” he added.
“Without this programme, we cannot develop our own juniors and give them the opportunity,” Tassell said.
Tassell also confirmed that the national all schools boys U17 camp will start next week and players selected during the Coca-Cola National All Schools Boys championship in Lae will arrive for the camp.