Fiji Rugby Union says it will not grant players their release if proper registration processes are not followed.
The country’s rugby parent body fired the warning after receiving word that an overseas agency was scouting players, including Fiji 7s reps, at the opening leg of the Super 7s Series in Lawaqa Park, some of whom are believed to have been placed in quarantine before they fly to Beijing, China without following due process.
FRU chief executive John O’Connor said they are concerned about the welfare of the players because the agency is neither registered with the Fiji Rugby Union nor the Ministry of Employment and particularly because China Rugby Union, which Rugby House has an agreement with, has not reached out to Fiji Rugby of any planned professional competition or their intent to recruit Fijian players to feature in their sanctioned competitions.
“FRU has a Player Agents Policy and urged current and former players who are also acting as agents to register with the FRU and also follow the process of registration with the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations so there is a certain level of confidence that proper due process is followed and that the player welfare and interest are always paramount,” O’Connor said.
“FRU does not recognize this agency and we are warning players to be aware of such scrupulous agents. We will also not grant international player release for any player involved with this agency if the proper process is not followed.
“Our main interest is the welfare of the players and we are urging the players who have been approached by the agent or agencies to seek guidance from the Fiji Rugby Union through our High-Performance Unit Coaches Bill Gadolo, Kele Leawere, Iferemi Rawaqa and Sale Sorovaki. It’s always good to seek guidance and advice from those who have been through the same experience before making the final decision.”
He thanked parents and players who sought clarification with FRU, urging others to do likewise if they are approached by such agents particularly now with the borders opened and rugby competitions resumed.
“We have had some bad experiences in the past of promises not being met so we are very cautious and concerned when we are made aware of such agent and agency.”
O’Connor also pointed out that FRU is in discussion with Korean Rugby Union to recruit players for a professional competition they will be organising.
“This is the right approach and when the positions and the numbers of the players are confirmed, we will advise our provincial unions accordingly.”