Tkatchenko denies 'politically ‘interfering’ in PNGRFU affairs

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko says he is not ‘politically interfering’ in the election of a new president of the PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU).

Speaking this morning at Bava Park, Port Moresby, Tkatchenko denied any claims of him interfering in the affairs of the PNGRFU.

“There have been some comments made against me by the general manager of the PNGRFU, Frank Genia, stating that I’ve been politically interfering in the process of putting up a new president, that plus we’ve never assisted rugby union at all as a government.

“Well they are absolutely false. Firstly, over the last four years as Minister, the government has given financial support to rugby union in many different ways to help assist the administration.

“We’ve done this and they know that.

“We’ve always supported rugby union in many of its international competitions overseas and here in PNG, especially the 2015 Oceania Rugby Cup where they were struggling to pay the bills and they came to the PNG Sports Foundation (PNGSF), and we helped pay for the accommodation for the officials and teams.”

On the election of a new PNGRFU president and board, Tkatchenko explained he had responded to questions by the media some time back about executive director of the PNGSF, Peter Tsiamalili Junior, being a potential candidate for the presidency post.

“Yes I said he’s a great candidate and I’m not going to deny that. That is my personal opinion.

“But does that mean I have politically interfered in the process? The media asked me a question on his candidacy and I answered.

“This sport is bigger than all of us. I don’t vote nor do I have any influence at all on what everybody else thinks.

“They make up their own minds. I have not endorsed anyone. At the end of the day, I will work with whoever becomes president of the PNGRFU.

“Rugby union has my full support to take to the next level. But the PNGRFU has to get their administration and management in order.

“The administration and management of any sporting code is the key to its success. If the administration and management are not doing their jobs, that sporting code will not work, the game will not flourish and it will just become absolutely stagnant,” said Tkatchenko.

Bava Park will be the new home for rugby union after the U-20 Women’s World Cup next month.

Troy Taule