Tag dispute goes global
The Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C) has written to the International Tag Federation to notify them that Samoa Tag Incorporated is the only recognized body authorized to represent Samoa.
This comes with news that a group based out in Otara, New Zealand, are identifying themselves as the Samoa Tag team and are planning to represent Samoa at the Tag World Cup in November at Coffs Harbour.
But a letter from the C.E.O. of S.A.S.N.O.C., Tuala Matthew Vaea, has advised the Tag International body that as the governing body of sports in Samoa, they maintain exclusive authority for the representation of Samoa at any regional, continental or world multi-sport competition.
“Samoa Tag Inc is affiliated to S.A.S.N.O.C and is therefore the only recognised body that is authorized to represent Samoa at any international tag competitions,” Tuala writes.
“Any team from overseas wanting to represent Samoa has to be sanctioned by Samoa Tag Inc.
“Please be advised that no team can purport to represent Samoa unless they have been approved by Samoa Tag Inc to do so. I trust that you will work together with Samoa Tag Inc to ensure that integrity of your world cup.”
The President of Samoa Tag Inc., Faaofo’nuu JP Leota, is in New Zealand and was not immediately available for an interview.
But he told the Samoa Observer during an interview in July that this has been an ongoing dispute since the start of the year.
He said the group in New Zealand refuses to recognize Samoa’s incorporated status.
“This official name of Samoa belongs to Samoa,” said Faaofonu’u. “ As president of Tag in Samoa – we are trying to fight for the game to grow here. The problem I see is they want the Samoa tag team based in New Zealand to go to the World Cup.”
“What we are saying is firstly, Samoa is its own country and we are not dictated to by New Zealand. Secondly, you’re not allowed to use Samoa as a sports name unless it’s actually endorsed from a governing body of Tag which is based in Samoa. So in effect, they need to go through us in order to go to World Cup.”
“Our fight is more about Samoa Tag having the right to own its own name as do other countries. We should not come under New Zealand, we are an independent country and we deserve to be recognized and respected as Samoa.”
Attempts to get a comment from the New Zealand group were unsuccessful.