|Gold medal in Rio: Ryan with the team.|
From one of Fiji's favourite sons to a 'liar.'
That's how the Fiji Rugby Union is treating former Fiji Sevens coach, Ben Ryan, after he had the temerity to point out a truth: the FRU hasn't been awarding players contracts as it should've been doing.
Ryan tweeted last Sunday "A fantastic effort by Fiji at @CapeTown7s @WorldRugby7sseries. FRU - please start paying these amazing men. No one contracted again."
The embarrassed FRU opted to try to tarnish the
Olympic winning coach as a liar rather than own the criticism.
|Honoured as a national hero|
In a media release, the FRU denied the loss of sponsorship and funding saying "there is no truth in Ben's comments."
"FRU has been having ongoing discussions with the Fiji National Sports Commission and our sponsors in relation to the contracting of our 7s players both men and women."
Yet, reports have merged that three sponsors, Carpenters Motors, BLK clothing apparel and Fiji Airways are scaling back their commitment.
It's reported the trio's contribution to the FRU was in the vicinity of more than $1.5million.
Ryan's comments hurt because they point to the discrepancies in Fiji rugby and ultimately Fiji politics.
Frank Bainimarama, the chairman of the FRU, has invested millions in the military because he's paying the army to keep backing him, so he stays in power.
He doesn't cough up for the national game, despite professing to love rugby (he allocated a miserable $30,000 for the boys who brought Gold home) and cashing in on the glory of Rio, because he knows he doesn't have to.
Ryan's candid comments about the failure of the FRU to look after its players is spot on and the FRU should learn from it, instead of being peeved.
The 44 year old Ryan, who is now based in London, was given the Fijian name Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara after he and team won at Rio. He was also gifted three acres by the people of the Serua province and was made a companion of the Order of Fiji.
His concerns about Fiji rugby are traversed fairly and openly in the story below, which came out after the Fiji win in Rio.
An Englishman in Fiji