To kickstart the New Ireland Model, a New Ireland Rugby Football League board of the Papua New Guinea Rugby League was officially sworn in on Friday 22nd January.
The directors include Benjamin Wakip, Byron Chan, Sikal Kelep, Rubie Kerepa, John Keleu and Les Kapin.
“Basically, the board will govern rugby league in the province in line with PNGRFL’s decentralised governance structures,” said Chairman of PNGRFL, Sandis Tsaka.
“They will be encouraged to be independent and self-sustaining, attracting sponsorship from business houses as well as the provincial government to manage the code of rugby league, thus feeding into the national level and ultimately, the international arena.”
The New Ireland Government signed a five year Memorandum of Agreement with PNGRFL last year to fund the New Ireland Rugby League board K100,000 per year, starting this year.
Governor Sir Julius Chan made it clear that the provincial government will not interfere with the affairs of the board and encouraged it to be independent and free from political influence.
“We have no issues providing funding to the code, just ensure all funding goes to its intended purpose of uniting and developing our people,” said Sir J.
The PNGRFL plans to replicate the model in other provinces in the coming months.
Tsaka said New Ireland was chosen ahead of other provinces to pilot the governance framework structure because they saw that the board could be free of political influence or other self-interest parties.
Meanwhile, the New Ireland Provincial Government and the PNGRFL board are looking forward to the grand opening of the New Ireland multi-complex sporting stadium in September this year, which will include a match with teams from the nationally renowned Digicel Cup competition.
The delegation had the opportunity of visiting the 60 percent complete stadium, which the PNGRFL Chairman also had the honour of officiating at during the groundbreaking ceremony on 27th July, 2020.