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'Sneaky' agents poaching players for professional league in China

By Chris Jones
PA

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Fiji Rugby Union chiefs have warned that “sneaky” agents are looking for players to launch a professional league in China and are targeting the country’s players with some already preparing to fly to Beijing.

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FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor has raised serious concerns about agents or agencies trying to recruit players without registration with FRU and or with the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations as a recruitment agency as required by the Employment Relations Regulations. O’Connor said the Union believe agents have been scouting players from the Fun Flavour Super Sevens Series and selected them without proper due diligence. Those players are in camp allegedly undergoing quarantine before flying to Beijing in the coming days.

O’Connor revealed the FRU is having official discussions with the Korean Rugby Union who have indicated to run a professional rugby competition. They will be seeking the assistance of FRU to recruit players.

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O’Connor said “FRU is aware that some of the national players (men and women) have also been approached by these sneaky agents or agencies. FRU We understand there is an agent or agency from China currently in the country scouting and recruiting players for playing contracts in China. The agent or agency is neither registered as an agent with Fiji Rugby nor with the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations as a recruitment agency.”

“FRU does not recognize this agency and we are warning players to be aware of such scrupulous agents. We will also not grant international player release for any player involved with this agency if the proper process is not followed.

“We have a very good relationship with the China Rugby Union and also have a Memorandum of Understanding on areas of collaboration, and they have neither advised the FRU of any planned professional competition and likewise their desire to recruit our players to play in their competition.

“Our main interest is the welfare of the players and we are urging the players who have been approached by the agent or agencies to seek guidance from the Fiji Rugby Union through our High-Performance Unit Coaches Bill Gadolo, Kele Leawere, Iferemi Rawaqa and Sale Sorovaki. It’s always good to seek guidance and advice from those who have been through the same experience before making the final decision.

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“FRU has a Player Agents Policy and urged current and former players who are also acting as agents to register with the FRU and also follow the process of registration with the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations so there is a certain level of confidence that proper due process is followed and that the player welfare and interest is always paramount.”

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