L-R: Tonga’s TRU Chair ‘Epeli Taione and CEO Fuka Kitekei’aho.
The âIkale Tahi players finally received the money promised for representing the kingdom in the Rugby World Cup, but it wasnât the amount they were promised.
Tonga Rugby Union (TRU) CEO Fuka Kitekeiâaho has apologised to the national team and said he would balance out everything after the tournament.
Kitekeiâaho admitted that he and TRU sometimes became emotional and told the team things they would do for them, but in the end could not keep to their promise.
TRU and Aoniu had announced that TP$75,919 would be distributed among the team, but in the end about TP$50,000 was sent.
Kaniva News understands the shortfall consisted of TP$25,000 the TRU said had been donated by Tonga Power Ltd.
Tonga Power Ltd told us this morning they would respond to our request for comment on their donation early next week and said they had asked for a report from TRU about their money.
Aoniu representative Hon Semisi Sika, who is also Chair of Whole House Committee, Â told Kaniva NewsÂ theirÂ Aoniu committee did not receive Tonga Power Ltd’s donation and so they decided to deduct it from the amount that was announced, the balance was sent to the players.
- Fundraisers must make sure money for âIkale Tahi is wisely managed, Sika warns
- Tens of thousands of paâanga raised for Ê»Ikale Tahi by Aoniu is yet to be paid to players
- âBest paid everâ âIkale Tahi failed to perform as expected, rugby boss says after three losses
Some of the players told us they only received part of the money announced by the Aoniu after the fundraising dinner.
TRU Chair âEpeli Taione told Kaniva News the money was paid to the players included a top up payment of TP$1000 to each players when they competed against Argentina and the All Blacks.
When questioned about Tonga Powerâs donation and why the amount dispersed was not what was officially announced on the night of the fund-raising dinner, Taione said: âMaau mea Kotoa ne top aki e vahe tamaiki taki taha afe he tau mo asenitina pea top up 1 afe tupu he tau mo nz. Maau kotoa I ai e fkmatala paanga kotoa ki heni he ofisi Unionâ.
âEverything went as planned. It was paid as top up on the boysâ pay by one thousand each when they played against Argentina and New Zealand. All done there is financial statement for this at the Unionâs Officeâ.
In a message written in Tongan and sent through Facebook to the âIkale Tahi players in England seen by Kaniva News, the players were told there were problems with trying to immediately release the money to them because there were repeated delays when trying to collect the sales made by Taione.
The message also said TRU were not forthcoming with playersâ bank accounts in which Aoniu required so they can disperse the money directly to the players.
Meanwhile, the Rugby Union CEO told the team that even after he signed off on their wages on August 17, there was a problem with the Ministry of Internal Affair, upon which the TRU relied financially.
Kitekeiâaho said the team was told by its manager, Soape Tuâiono, that each player would get TP$2,000 after each game during the tournament, but that Tuâiono did not get the money.
He said he would send each player TP$3,000 to cover two weeksâs wages.
After that the playersâ pay would be increased to TP$2000 each week until the end of the World Cup, the CEO wrote. He claimed he was trying to get TP$3000 for each player and would take it from there when Ikale Tahi got into the quarter finals.
Kitekeiâaho did not respond to our request for comments.
Tonga was defeated by New Zealand, Argentina and Georgia, but beat Namibia 35-21 and now ranks13th. Â On the official Rugby World Cup page, replica Tongan jerseys are still selling for Â£990, but beanies have been reduced to Â£5.
The main points
- The âIkale Tahi players have finally received the money promised for representing the kingdom in the Rugby World Cup, but it wasnât the amount they were promised.
- Tonga Rugby Union CEO Fuka Kitekeiâaho has apologised to the national team and said he would balance out everything after the tournament.
- Kitekeiâaho admitted that he and TRU sometimes became emotional and told the team things they would do for them, but in the end could not keep to their promise.
- Tonga Rugby Union had announced that TP$75,919 would be distributed among the team, but in the end about TP$50,000 was sent.