12 Jan 2014

IRB suspends Fiji funding

9:23 am on 12 January 2014

The International Rugby Board says it's suspended all direct financial support to the Fiji Rugby Union with immediate effect, because of administration and governance concerns.

The IRB is withholding more than $2 million in funding until the Fiji union adopts key financial reporting, administration and governance reforms.

It says the recommendations arose from an IRB review which was conducted after Fiji requested emergency financial assistance last May.

The cash-strapped FRU is struggling to pay the salary of high-profile Sevens coach Ben Ryan, forcing him to work voluntarily for three months.

The Englishman's appointment was announced with much fanfare in September, when he was charged with improving the skilful but inconsistent Islanders ahead of Sevens' Olympic debut in 2016.

However, Ryan says "not a penny" of his salary has been paid and he's living off his savings, including covering the cost of flights home to see his family over Christmas.