New Samoa Rugby boss says Union willing to make changes
The Samoa Rugby Union's new CEO insists they are ready to make changes, following criticism from players and fans.
The new head of the Samoa Rugby Union says his administration has taken criticism on board and is ready to make changes.
The SRU has never been far from the headlines in recent years, with officials accused of mismanaging funds at the last World Cup and players threatening to boycott a test match against England.
Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i has been appointed interim CEO, replacing Fred Amoa, who announced his resignation earlier this week, along with head of the Union's High Performance Unit, Tuala Mathew Vaea.
The former Manu Samoa international told Vinnie Wylie the Union has listened and learned.
FALEOMAVAEGA VINCENT FEPULEA'I: The Union has been taking everything on board
and their was a committee that was set-up to review the whole situation and the issues in the past have been sorted out with the players through the chairman. I don't want to talk too much about the past but we've taken on lessons learned from the past. We'd like to turn a new page and start fresh but the challenges from the past are still being looked at and
we're addressing all the issues as we go along.
VINNIE WYLIE: You've got that background as a player with rugby and in sports administration. Have you had any involvement with the Samoa Rugby Union over the last few years?
FVP: Ever since I finished rugby I've been involved with Marist Sports Club. I've been tournament director for Marist St Joseph's International Sevens for 12 years. I sort of stepped back a bit and took on other responsibilities as well with the Samoa Open golf but I still haven't completely left out rugby as a whole. It's still my passion. I don't have any direct involvement with the Union as such [in recent years] but as a player and somebody within the corporate community I've had some idea of what's happening over here and it's given me good stead to make some changes and move forward.
VW: There has been a lot of criticism - be it within Samoa or outside of Samoa. The player and a lot of ex-players have come out and put their two cents in as to what they think some of the issues are at the SRU. You're in charge now so anything that does come up is your responsibility.
FVP: That's right. I'm quite aware of all the issues that the players have raised and also what's gone through the media. I'm hopefully being here to address those issues and make changes and to try and win back the confidence of our people, the country as a whole and to try and make Manu Samoa where it was a few years ago.
VW: Do you understand the confusions where, at the start of this interview, you said that the chairman has publicly said that the matter with the players has been resolved but here you are also acknowledging that there are still some issues to work through? How can it be resolved when there are still some issues to work through?
FVP: The issues I'm talking about - the lessons learned from what's been happening in the past - we will try and resolve it through as we move forward. The matter has been dealt with in the past [but] I'm somebody new into the Union and I would like to see there are more obstacles facing me forward than looking back. The lessons that I've learned looking from the outside I will try and address them as we go along and I'm not totally forgetting what's the lapses that we've had in the past to try and correct them.
VW: Speaking with the Players Association they still believe there are matters that have not been dealt with and that they are still in negotiations with the Union.
FVP: There's a committee's been set-up by the Union, that is being chaired independently, to review all the issues of the [end of year] tour, with regards to the operations of the Union [and] how matters are being handled. They will report back to the Board of the Samoa Rugby Union and see what lessons that we learnt from there so we haven't sat back and totally ignored the players' grievances or anything like that. The matter is part of the agenda as we move forward. Hopefully it will be revealed how changes will be made in moving forward to try and comply with World Rugby and expectations of what a professional organisation should be.
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