Fiji “lost players’ passports” as captain Naiqama re-affirms player boycott

Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama has called for the national board to be voted out as he revealed a string of unprofessional incidents over the period of the World Cup.

Earlier this week, the players said they will boycott future internationals until they are paid the prize money they are owed from the tournament.

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 tournament.

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 AAP: “It was really unprofessional and it’s always been like that within the FNRL. For rugby league to go forward in Fiji, the current FNRL leadership cannot be in charge.

“What we experienced was not good enough, and we’ve come to an agreement as a playing group that we will stand down from any Fiji Bati Tests until we get paid.

“There was a contract we signed that has everything in black-and-white. They were happy to give us 100 per cent of the prize money and it’s something we have not received.

“We had countless meetings with (CEO) Timoci Naleba and (chairman) Filimoni Vosarogo which we thought went really well, but ended up as blatant lies.

“The 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.”

Fiji received $125,000 for reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they lost to eventual winners Australia – for the second successive tournament.

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