THE PNG NRL bid team has enlisted the support of Australian law and order experts to implement procedures necessary to curb violence at rugby league games in PNG.
As the bid team headed by Philemon Embel, Minister for State assisting the Prime Minister, and the 2015 Pacific Games organisers prepare to develop a state-of-the-art stadium in PNG to cater for these major events, security and safety for players, officials and fans have become a key priority.
The message from the bid team and the NRL is clear – the ongoing violence at rugby league games in PNG is of great concern if the bid is to have a fighting chance to secure an NRL licence for PNG.
At the NRL grand final held at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney recently, NCD police operations boss Chief Insp Andy Bawa and operations staff from the bid team were provided a tour of the stadium and the police command centre, witnessing first hand the high level of security and police operations and approach to dealing with issues of violence.
Director of the organised crime directorate (OCD) in NSW, Stuart Smith, and stadium CEO Sue Max provided advice in relation to how their operations were managed and have offered their support to help the PNG NRL bid team and the PNG police force develop strategies in order to have the highest levels of safety and security in place at the stadium yet to be built.
While the stadium is still a few years away from construction, the PNG NRL bid team believes that work must begin immediately with the community.
“It all begins with the fans who attend games – they must be educated and made aware that violence is not the answer to solving problems or outcomes of matches,” Bawa said.
Bawa will join forces with PNG NRL bid ambassador Marcus Bai on a campaign to deliver strong messages through the bid’s PNG-wide community programme that violence at rugby league games or any sporting event for that matter is simply “not on”.
PNG NRL bid strategic adviser Paul Broughton, who initiated the visit with the NRL and the ANZ Stadium Trust, said the involvement of the PNG police force in the bid showed their genuine commitment to improving community relations and security.