New Zealand Prime Minister John Key sits with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi during the historic test. Photo / Getty Images
Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says the country lost $1.5 million (approx NZD $890,000) hosting the All Blacks.
Tuilaepa, who is also chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, said the governing body spent $3.4 million on the historic test earlier this month.
“The money was spent on preparations, the cost of everything and allowances,” he told a press conference. “The bulk of the money went towards the players’ allowances.”
However, the union collected only $1.9 million in revenue. “So there was a loss of $1.5 million but that’s the reality faced by the Union. The truth is that the Union needs at least $10 million every year for its international fixtures,” said Tuilaepa.
Asked if the union received any money from companies who sold Manu Samoa merchandise, Tuilaepa said all that money added up to $1.9 million.
“It doesn’t cover our expenses, especially the extended camp for the players. Food, allowances, transport…it’s all money.”
The All Blacks played the Manu Samoa at the newly refurbished Apia Park on July 8. The Kiwi team received a hero’s welcome when they touched down at Faleolo Airport two days earlier and the local tourism industry – including restaurants and businesses – soared.
The loss, Tuilaepa said, meant the Union would have to find somewhere to plug the hole. “That’s why the union works hard to raise funds to offset the losses. Which means they will have to resort to government bodies for help.”
Among those government bodies is the Samoa International Finance Authority, which has been a major sponsor of Samoan rugby for the past few years.
Tuilaepa said the union had hosted its sponsors and supporters, and that they were informed about the union’s longterm plans.
During the press conference, Tuilaepa also scoffed at the national boxing team that represented Samoa at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, last week.
“I don’t know the people who are coaching that team,” he said. “Not only they don’t know how to coach the kids to box, even the athletes are cowards.
“What I saw was an eyesore, I just couldn’t understand how they selected these athletes.”