Vodafone Fiji Bati captain Kevin Naiqama has called for the Fiji National Rugby League board to be voted out and said that the players will boycott until they get their World Cup prize money.
Naiqama blasted the current regime as “unprofessional” as he opened up on the players discontent over passport, visa and payment issues during last year’s Rugby League World cup.
He revealed how the squad’s player-manager was sacked, while the passports of Ashton Sims, Korbin Sims and coach Mick Potter were lost all in the first week of camp.
Forward Viliame Kikau was also close to missing their semi‑final defeat to Australia after being stuck in New Zealand due to an expired visa.
Naiqama told Australia Associated Press that it was really unprofessional and it’s always been like that within the FNRL.
He adds that for rugby league to go forward in Fiji, the current FNRL leadership cannot be in charge.
He says that what they experienced was not good enough, and they have come to an agreement as a playing group to stand down from any Fiji Bati Tests until they get paid.
The players biggest gripe is over the late transfers of $35 allowances provided by the tournament that were believed to be topped up by the FNRL.
Naiqama claimed the delayed payments lasted the entire campaign, and almost forced the squad to pull out of an appearance before the Fijian High Commission in Canberra.
It was only a last‑ditch meeting with the Bati’s leadership group involving NRL stars Jarryd Hayne, Akuila Uate and Apisai Koroisau that prevented a possible revolt.
But it is the failure to pass on the $125,000 prize money from reaching the semi‑finals that was the final straw for the playing group, and Naiqama said the players’ demanded change.
Naiqama says that they have had countless meetings with FNRL CEO Timoci Naleba and chairman Filimoni Vosarogo which they thought went really well, but nothing was achieved.
He adds that he had actually called the FNRL office and they said the lady that was supposed to pay it didn’t want to turn up that day to put the money into the accounts.
Naiqama says that some players in the squad, not many of them are on full‑time contracts, some are called to support for their families and were relying on that money.
We are currently trying to reach for comments from the FNRL CEO Timoci Naleba about Naiqama's claims.
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