Sport: PNG Rugby Union locked out of home ground by Govt

12:45 pm on 10 February 2017

The Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union is still waiting for the government to return control of its home base at Bava Park.

The facility, next to Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, has been the long-time home of rugby in PNG.

It was acquired by the government in 2014 for the Pacific Games and redeveloped for FIFA Under 20 Women's World Cup last year.

PNG's Minister for Sports and National Events, Justin Tkatchenko, said last year the ground would be utilised for touch rugby and rugby union.

The PNG Rugby President, Ben Frame, said the promised hand over has yet to occur.

"The Sports Foundation still controls the grounds," he said.

"The offices that we built on those grounds, when we had the actual lease for the grounds - to the tune of nearly two million kinas value - is all under...the sport's [home ground] been acquired by the government for the 2015 South Pacific Games.

"We've never been compensated so yeah we've got the facilities there - there's great facilities for rugby at Bava Park but the government hasn't handed it over back to rugby union yet, so we're in a bit of a struggle there to get the facilities so we can use them for rugby."

Bava Park will become the home of touch rugby and rugby union in PNG.

Bava Park was redeveloped for the FIFA Under 20 Women's World Cup last year. Photo: Facebook / Hon Justin Tkatchenko MP

Ben Frame said PNG Rugby have been forced to run the administration from the General Manager's house since the locks to the administration block, Rugby House, were changed and an attempt to issue suspension notices to General Manager Frank Genia and coaching director Sydney Wesley.

"We've reported the matter to the police but because the government owns the land they claim that they own the office block, even though they've never compensated us for what we've built there, so it's a bit of a stalemate at the moment," he said.

The PNG government and PNGRFU have been in dispute since Justin Tkatchenko announced the election of Steven Kami as PNGRFU interim president-elect at the launch of the Jonah Lomu Legacy Cup late last year.

World Rugby warned the Sports Minister, in a letter dated December 20, not to politically interfere in the running or decision making of rugby union in PNG.

The governing body said it did not recognise Mr Kami's administration and that Ben Frame was the duly elected President of the PNGRFU.

He was reconfirmed in that position at the Union's Annual General Meeting on January 25.

Mr Tkatchenko has rejected the accusations.