Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama will meet with the Bati playing group over the next two weeks to decide whether to end their international boycott in time for next month’s Pacific Rugby League Test against Papua New Guinea.
Six months after reaching the World Cup semi-finals, Fiji players were last week paid their $AU3125 prizemoney after the Fiji National Rugby League were bailed out by the international body.
It is understood the FNRL had initially spent the World Cup money on a long- standing debt, forcing the players to declare they would be boycotting future international Tests.
But after Naiqama personally met with Rugby League International Federation chief executive Nigel Wood, the RLIF stepped in to loan the FNRL the extra money for the players.
“It was supposed to be in our accounts in two weeks. I found out the reason was because the FNRL were in debt and they were withholding our prizemoney to pay a debt,” Naiqama told AAP.
“That’s why it took the whole six months. The RLIF ended up paying for that debt, and the FNRL are in a payment plan to pay it back to them so the players have agreed to meet to discuss the best action moving forward.”
It is believed the players remain upset with the behaviour of the FNRL board, despite three new members being voted in at their recent annual general meeting.
Former Penrith player Matt Adamson was appointed interim Bati head coach two weeks ago after Mick Potter stood down from the role in April, while former Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva was voted as one of the new FNRL directors last month.
“There’s still a bit of trust issues. There’s only one person really on the board that the players have the trust of, and that’s Petero,” Naiqama said.
“We’re in talks moving forward to find out the best way to go ahead, because they can put someone else as chairman of the governing body.”