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Fijiana players finally paid missing money totalling £60,271 for representing the country

By Chris Jones
Players of Fiji sing after defeat during the Women's International match between the Australia Wallaroos and Fijiana at Allianz Stadium on May 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

The Fiji Rugby Union will pay the Vodafone Fijiana XVs players a total of £60,271 ($172,600 ) to end a damaging row over payments that saw frustrated captain Sereima Leweniqila highlight the issue in a Facebook post.

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As a result of the publicity over the missing money, the FRU interim board of trustees chairman Peter Mazey told local media that the payments promised to the Fijiana during the Wallaroos Test and Oceania championship in Australia was finally being honoured. The Fijiana finished runners-up to Samoa at the regional tournament on Australia’s Gold Coast.

It had emerged the players, including Asinate Serevi the daughter of former Fijian sevens star Waisale Serevi, were paid £35 ($100) per day while in Australia instead of £105 ($300) as promised by the team management while World Cup players were also owed two days of allowance last year, which amounted to £210 ($600). “As promised the Trustees of Fiji Rugby Football Trust Board met,” said Mazey.

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“And after reviewing the evidence and information provided especially by the team and their captain resolved to pay the Fijiana 15’s players their outstanding allowances from the Womens 15’s World Cup in 2022 and to pay the remainder due to those who competed this year in the Oceania series. This is a total of $172,600.

“While we invited the team members, through their captain, to join us at Rugby House they preferred not to and we will now meet with them when the captain returns from overseas next week. This is to finalise the outstanding payment and more importantly get their help and contribution to Women’s rugby in the restructure of Fiji Rugby.

“We need their input into our planning going forward. I again thank all of those great women’s rugby players who came out and brought their issues to our attention by addressing them we can make Rugby especially women’s rugby better. We realise there have been errors and problems in the past. We are not there to really look at the past. We are there to sort it out and move ahead.”

The payment of money owed to the players comes after World Rugby took steps to try and stabilise the FRU. The Fiji Minister of Justice appointed an Interim Board of Trustees and an Administrator for the FRU and World Rugby engaged in meetings with stakeholders in Fiji. It has been reported that the FRU owes creditors £1.2m ($3.5m)

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