Cedars take stand in protest over domestic board
LEBANESE players will take the extraordinary step of taping over the Lebanese Rugby League Federation logo when they take to the field against Fiji on Saturday.
The move is led by some of the Cedars’ highest profile players, including Robbie Farah, Josh Mansour, Tim Mannah, Mitchell Moses and Michael Lichaa as the angst between the game’s best players against the governing body in Lebanon grows.
The fallout has continued from the 2017 World Cup when players grew frustrated at the Lebanese board for failing to capitalise on the team’s success in the tournament.
Players boycotted last year’s mid-year Test but fears they would be stripped of their World Cup status will see them return to the field this week.
While they are keen to represent the Cedars again they will do so under protest against the current board.
Farah, whose commitments with the Wests Tigers in Townsville prevented him from standing alongside the likes of Moses and Mansour for a photo, backed the stance.
“We are all so proud to represent the Cedars,” Farah said. “The 2017 World Cup was one of the highlights of my career. But as a playing group we can't support what is happening to the game in Lebanon. We want the game to grow and prosper and we stand alongside those domestic players in demanding change.
“We are taking this action because we don't support the current board and the way it was elected. We want what's best for the long-term future of the game in Lebanon.”
Rick Stone will coach the Cedars for the first time when the team heads into camp tomorrow.
The turmoil has been ongoing since the end of the 2017 World Cup.
Long-term Cedars player turned player representative Chris Saab wrote a letter to the Lebanese Rugby League Federation last March calling for their resignation on behalf of the Cedars playing group. Saab said the NRL stars are supporting local players in Lebanon whose domestic competition has come to a halt because of the infighting.
Saab has again called on the board to stand down.
“We have all lost confidence in them,” Saab said. “The local players are boycotting the competition. All we want is a fair election and they’ve denied it. An election in February was undemocratic and nobody is buying it.
“Not one domestic championship game has been played since as the domestic players are still in boycott, however the federation is telling people otherwise.
“That’s why we don’t support them. The boycott would’ve continued but if we were to do that we would’ve set Lebanon rugby league back 10 years. We went from playing Test matches at local parks to being invited to play on the bigger stages.
“The boys in Lebanon deserve to have a competition running. We are all united here.”
There will be a fan day at Beverly Hills Park on Tuesday from 4.45pm.
“We stand alongside those dome stic players in demanding change Robbie Farah
Lebanese rugby league players Michael Lichaa, Abbas Miski, Josh Mansour, Mitch Moses and Adam Doueihi make a united stand.