Radio New Zealand International
PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s new sports minister Justin Tkatchenko says the state of rugby league in the country is an absolute disaster and needs an overhaul.
The annual meeting of the national rugby league federation was meant to have been held last November but infighting and court battles delayed proceedings, leaving the sport in a state of limbo.
Mr Tkatchenko has met with the International Rugby League Federation and local officials in the past week to discuss a way forward.
He says the game has turned into a legal fighting match and it’s the people of PNG who are suffering.
“I think there’s some areas that we need to take control of this and one of those will be to introduce some legislation for the government to take control of the running of rugby league,” he said.
“It seems that no one can make a decision or get their act together for the people of PNG. As this is their number one sport we must make sure it works and at the moment it’s not working.”
The PNG government has injected K1 million into rugby league, which will primarily pay for next month’s clash against the Australian prime minister’s team.
Tas Batieri from the Rugby League International Federation says the governing body is supportive of the PNG government’s plans.
He says a lot needs to be done ahead of next year’s World Cup, such as drafting a new constitution.
“It’s not something that we’re going to solve overnight. It will take the best part of 15 months, I believe, to do it properly so we don’t have a repeat of the dramas we’ve had over the last three year.”