Rugby Union struggles with over $1m debt

By Ulimasao Fata ,

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SAMOA RUGBY UNION CHAIR: Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

SAMOA RUGBY UNION CHAIR: Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) had a tough year in 2016 as it attempted to deal with a debt of over $1million from the previous financial year.

The figure is revealed in the report by the S.R.U. Chairman, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, from their Annual Report. 

A copy of the report has been obtained by the Samoa Observer. 

“The Union has had a tough year in 2016 trying to deal with a large overdraft due to settling over $1 million in debts during 2015,” Tuilaepa reports. 

“Overall activities of the Union for 2016 saw a net loss of $106,000 with the S.R.U. posting a profit of $153,000 which was offset by a loss in High Performance Unit of $259,000.”

The report points out that “the Union’s immediate debts have decreased from $685,000 to $480,000 and the Union is looking at closing off all long outstanding debts by 2018.” 

The Annual Report highlighted addressing and implementing of Organization’s strategic plans from a financial aspect of the business including management, development, high performance, governance, and the need to gain external commercial opportunities. 

“Whilst significant actions have been implemented with improvements in all areas of the Organization, there is still much to do and the C.E.O. (Faleomavaega Vince Fepulea’i) and the Commission as work in process." 

“Underpinning these significant changes is demonstrating good governance and this will assist greatly in our report to the World Rugby for favorable in consideration on the matter of World Rugby Council representation." 

“Our third year of unqualified audit reports is a testament of progress and a step forward in this direction." 

“On the field, the mixed results from the Manu Samoa XVs on the international stage were very much noted as a rebuilding phase,” said Tuilaepa in his report. 

The S.R.U. Chairman pointed out that given the mixed results, changes were made to the National Seven’s Management and they have wasted no time in dwelling on the past but look forward to working with the Sir Gordon Tiejens and Stephen Betham in rebuilding their depth with some new players and given them time to develop and improve Samoa’s world ranking. 

 

He said that rugby in Samoa is going through many challenges and trials under difficult financial strain at most times. 

“Our fate is mostly directed by funding issues and the Union could not survive without the financial assistance and good will from the Government of Samoa and its Corporations. 

“The moment Government stops its contribution there shall be no more Manu Samoa. It’s the reason I am still involved in the active management of S.R.U,” said Tuilaepa. 

The Union’s major sponsors are the government, Samoa International Finance Authority and BlueSky Samoa Limited. 

 

The following is Tuilaepa’s report in full:

Annual Report 2016 

Chairman’s Report 

2016 was a demanding and challenging year for Samoa Rugby Union. 

The outcome changes in our Premier Teams were at the forefront of many challenges. The important highlights were addressing and implementing of the Organizations strategic plans from a financial aspect of the business including management, development, high performance, governance and the need to gain external commercial opportunities. 

Whilst significant actions have been implemented with improvements in all areas of the Organization there is still much to do and the C.E.O and the Executive team continued on with the mandate follow on by the Reforms Committee as work in process. 

Underpinning these significant changes is demonstrating good governance and this would assist greatly in our request to World Rugby for favorable consideration on the matter of World Rugby Council Representation. 

Our third year of unqualified audit reports is a testament of progress and a step forward in this direction. 

On the field, the mixed results from the Manu Samoa XVs on the international stage were very much noted as a rebuilding phase. 

Whilst we came close behind Fiji in the P.N.C. (Pacific Nations Cup) Manu Samoa during the Northern end of year tour managed to scrape through Canada, but suffered defeat against Georgia and France. 

Manu Samoa needs a huge improvement in 2017 if we are to qualify for Rugby R.W.C. 2019. 

The Manu Sevens campaign whilst it showed promised early on and winning the Paris leg of the H.S.B.C World Series, the team failed to qualify for the Olympic games in Rio and ranked 9th in the World Series.

Samoa A team showed promised early on but only a few players made it through to Manu Samoa’s end of year N.H.T. (Norther Hemisphere Tour), a huge area of concern the performance highlight of 2016 went to the U-20’s team which won the trophy competition in Zimbabwe to regain our spot back in the Junior World Cup Championship for 2017. 

The women’s game is at a rebuilding phase with the focus in school recruitment and development with SRU working closely with regional organizations awareness programs to host girl’s tournament. 

Given the mixed results, changes were made to the national 7’s team coach with the recruitment of Sir Gordon Tietjens to head this program with assistance of Stephen Betham. 

Their collective successes and experience is expected to bring some much needed results to improve our world ranking on international series. 

Samoa Rugby Union has wasted no time in dwelling on the past, but look forward to working with the new team management in rebuilding our depth with some new group of players and give them time to develop and improve Samoa’s World ranking. 

S.R.U has identified the need to revamp the local development and inject a new competition to ensure local players have a clear pathway to high honors through one meaningful competitive competition across the country. 

This elite local competition is being addressed and planned by S.R.U for launch in 2017 to ensure the best players in Samoa are playing in one competition consistently for a minimum of 11 weeks. 

S.R.U will also ensure that coaches of these teams have attained proper certification as coaches and provide upskilling in team management of rugby teams. 

I am continuously critical and continue to voice the concern at the lack of Samoa referees at international level competitions and we must address this impasse and developed our local referees to the standard required.    

Rugby in Samoa is going through many challenges and trials under difficult financial strain at most times. 

Our fate is mostly dictated by funding issues and the Union could not survive without the financial assistance and good will from the Government of Samoa and its Corporations.

The moment government stops its contribution there shall be no more Manu Samoa. 

It’s the reason I am still involved in this active management of S.R.U. 

The Union has had a tough year in 2016 trying to deal with a large overdraft due to settling over $1 million in debts during 2015. 

Overall activities of the Union for 2016 saw a net loss of $106,000 with the S.R.U posting a profit of $153,000 which was offset by a loss in High Performance Unit of $259,000. 

The Unions immediate debts have decreased from $685,000 to $480,000 and the Union is looking at closing off all long outstanding debts by 2018.

In light of the past 12 months, our focus is on rebuilding and strengthening the Union’s Commercial arm to entice offshore sponsorships. 

SRU engaged a renowned independent consultancy firm of experts to undertake an asset valuation of our brand and a commercial strategy review. A costly exercise but crucial to the Union’s future commercial viability. 

Recommendations are already at the forefront of all various engagements with potential partners and stakeholders. 

In addition to this is the revamping of our brand over the next 12 months to earn additional revenue stream from apparel and product merchandising. 

SRU is doing all it can to ensure that its teams are well supported and that they (coaches/player) also improve their performance, as results is so critical in attracting sponsors to any organization.  

As Chairman it is my duty to present this report on the operations of the Union and some of the highlights and shortcomings of its performance of the year. 

It is not intended to be comprehensive but to give a clear picture of the main activities and their implication for the future of the union. 

Our special thanks to all our sponsors and supporters without those contributions, SRU could not survive. 

In particular I would like to recognize the continuous support from: Major Sponsors, the Government of Samoa; Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.) BlueSky Samoa Ltd. 

Associate Sponsors: Gilbert, LE (Limited Edition), Gaming Control Authority, Samoa Tourism Authority, Taula Beverages, Henderson Cars, Matson and Tanoa Tusitala. 

Media Partners; TV 1, Radio 2AP, Radio Polynesia, Oceania Communication and the Samoa Observer.

Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Samoa Sports Facility Authority; World Rugby for their continuing support and commitment to the development of rugby at all levels, upskilling of coaches, referees and managers and investment into HPU programs. 

All president and members of affiliated unions, I thank you for your support during the year and look forward to the same in the future. 

SRU Board of Directors for voluntarily giving their valuable time for Samoa Rugby and to all staff members and volunteers alike of giving extra time to accommodate the demands on rugby. 

 

Soifua ma ia manuia, 

Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Fatialofa Sailele Malielegaoi. 

Chairman. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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