Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)



SUVA, Fiji, Jan 09, 2014 (AFP) - The cash-strapped Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) has admitted it 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 told Fiji's One News this week that “not a penny” of his salary had been paid and he was living off his savings, including covering the cost of flights home to see his family over the festive season.

FRU acting chief executive Berlin Kafoa confirmed the situation but said Ryan had agreed not to be paid for the first three months of his tenure after officially taking the reins at the beginning of October.

“Ryan volunteere­d for three months after being appointed as national Sevens coach due to the financial situation of the FRU,” Kafoa said in a statement issued Wednesday.

He also revealed the FRU had still not secured funding to cover Ryan's salary for the current year.

“The FRU has applied to the Fiji Sports Commission for a grant based on the 2014 budget allocation which will be used for Ryan's salary,” he said. “We are still waiting for the Fiji Sports Commission to respond to our applicatio­n.” Kafoa added: “We as a nation should applaud a foreign individual who is willing to make personal sacrifices for the love of rugby in Fiji.” The FRU posted a FJ$600,000 ($320,000) loss in 2012 and chairman Filimone Waqabaca vowed to sort out its finances when he took up the post last year.

The union struggles for sponsorshi­p revenue in a market of just 900,000 people and is heavily reliant on developmen­t grants from the Internatio­nal Rugby Board (IRB).

Ryan finished a successful stint with the England Sevens team last year.

Under his tutelage, they won four titles on the world Sevens tour and reached the final of the World Cup for the first time last year in Moscow, where they lost 33-0 to New Zealand.

 ??  ?? Ben Ryan
Ben Ryan
 ??  ?? Matt Prior
Matt Prior
 ??  ?? Stuart Broad
Stuart Broad

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