"Serious Debt" - Fiji Rugby Union Owes Over $1.7Million - Ruck

“Serious Debt” – Fiji Rugby Union Owes Over $1.7Million

Fiji Rugby currently find themselves in a challenging financial situation, as the FRU owes at least $FJ3.5m (approx. $1.7m US) to creditors. The total owed sum is feared to be increasing, with the debt announced just over two months before from the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Flying Fijians have been drawn into Pool C, where they are set to take on Wales, Australia, Georgia and Portugal. However, with the national team’s current financial situation, this critical time for Rugby World Cup preparations has just taken a devastating blow.

CARDIFF, WALES – OCTOBER 01: Fiji players salute the crowd after the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Wales and Fiji at the Millennium Stadium on October 1, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Interim Chair of Fiji Rugby Football Union Trust Board Peter Mazey, confirmed the fears regarding the Pacific Island side’s debt. Speaking to New Zealand news outlet RNZ, Mazey said;

“When we came in, we knew, because we’d seen the annual report as at December last year, which the initial audited report showing a debt of about $1.7 million. When we came in and went through everything, we discovered that debt was in fact a lot higher.”

“And so currently the auditors are re-looking at the audit report and right at the moment we have identified $3.5 million of debt.”

Members of the Fijian Senior Women side, Fijiana, are reportedly still waiting to receive their pay for last month’s World Rugby Oceania Championship. Additional players and still waiting to be paid for as far back as last October, for the Rugby World Cup.

The FRU has to reportedly find $FJ172,000 to pay these players, with the added financial strain of the men’s Rugby World Cup on the horizon. Mazey commented on this situation by stating;

“We went through all of the girls’ main financial concerns and found outstanding allowances for the World Cup last year. We also found that the monies were owed as well for the Oceania tournament.”

“So in total, we have agreed, and the trustees passed the motion, that we have to pay the players $172,600 in outstanding [costs]. Now, the arrangement on paying off that is going to take a little while longer; we’ve got to find that funding.

“But apart from that we have arranged to have meetings with the girls over it. And we are hopeful of clearing it very quickly.”