Cup organisers say Hela side will not be penalised over alleged incident
By JACK AMI
DIGICEL Cup organisers say grand finalists Hela Wigmen will not be penalised over an alleged sexual-assault incident that took place in Port Moresby on Sunday.
It was alleged that Wigmen supporters had chanced upon a female Tigers supporter after she had made her way out of the Oil Search National Football Stadium following the Lae side’s 15-4 victory.
However, Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competition (PNGNRLC) manager Stanley Hondina said yesterday that the franchise would not be penalised as it was the work of opportunists.
“We have guidelines to safeguard the competition and its franchises, and Wigmen are not part of this unfortunate incident,” he said.
NFS general manager Lee Pokarop said yesterday’s front-page article in the other daily had tarnished the work done to develop the sport.
“We don’t know which source the reporter had got his or her story from as all the sports reporters were still at OSNFS after the grand final. We should get our facts right before publishing such reports,” Pokarop said.
“This is like attacking rugby league and undoing a peaceful grand final. Prime Minister James Marape and Sports Vice-Minister Wesley Raminai hailed it a great success. Security is our number-one priority at the stadium.
“It is unfortunate and the blame should not be shouldered by both organisations (NFS and PNGNRLC) as it did not take place in the venue.
“For events like the Rugby League World and any other international events, security is extended outside the stadium.
“We’d like to assure our people and supporters that the venue has a highly-professional approach in dealing with such behaviour and does not entertain violence.”
PNGNRLC chairman Adrian Chow said it was an isolated incident.
“This is an unfortunate incident and the Wigmen should not be blamed as it was work of opportunists claiming to be supporters, allegedly attacking a woman and smashing vehicle windows at the back of Boroko Post Office,” he said.
“This is a police matter now so they will have to investigate and arrest the suspects involved in the incident.
“We have a zero tolerance on violence. It’s unfortunate that this has happened.”