21 Apr 2011

Tonga government says it has no authority to change rugby administration

3:07 pm on 21 April 2011

The Tongan government says under its agreement with the International Rugby Board, no changes can be made to the country's rugby authority until the end of February.

The Authority was set up last year to address the IRB's concerns over the way the union's constitution was applied.

A petition submitted to the Tongan Cabinet earlier this year expressed dissatisfaction with the management of the Authority and called for a change in leadership.

But the Finance Minister, Sunia Fili, says the appointments made to the country's rugby authority, and their salaries, were agreed to by the previous administration and he doesn't have the power to sack anyone.

"We are also aware that we are having the same situation as in Fiji. The IRB were not happy about our rugby situation here in Tonga before so they stepped in for the government to give a hand."

Sunia Fila says when the ordinance expires anyone will be eligible to stand for the Tongan Rugby Union Board.