Samoan Rugby Union ‘not bankrupt', says World Rugby
World Rugby has said it remains committed to supporting the Samoan Rugby Union, and insisted that the governing body for the sport on the Pacific island is not bankrupt.
Earlier this month, ahead of an international match against Scotland, SRU chairman and Samoan prime minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi appealed for public money for the union, claiming it was “bankrupt.”
However, while World Rugby acknowledged that some central funding had been withheld, it claimed that SRU’s financial position was not as severe as had been made it out, reiterating that there is direct and indirect investment of £1.5 million ($2 million) in 2017.
Samoa, one of rugby's 'tier-two' nations, are set to play England at Twickenham stadium in London on Saturday, and England's Rugby Football Union has offered the SRU £75,000 as a goodwill gesture.
In a statement yesterday, World Rugby said: “Recent statements made by the chairman of the SRU questioning World Rugby’s funding package are inaccurate. While the SRU’s failure to implement some jointly agreed high-performance initiatives in 2017 is a concern to World Rugby, it has resulted in a small amount of conditional investment being withheld.”
The international governing body added: “"World Rugby can clarify that the union is not bankrupt."
World Rugby also denied claims by Mailelegaoi that it had interfered in the appointment of Samoa’s head coach, stating that the SRU had failed to accept the recommendation of an independent selection panel, which led to the withdrawal of funding for the position.”
Samoa are currently 16th in the men's rankings of World Rugby.