The President of Rugby League Samoa, Tagaloa Fa’afouina Su’a, has advised the public against believing anything about a possible pay rise for tier two nations - Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
Tagaloa was responding to questions from the Samoa Observer about discussions for pay rise for tier two nations’ following the Rugby League World Cup.
“Don’t believe anything you hear from the grapevine. As of the moment, nothing has been confirmed and it’s a work in progress,” he said.
“The tier one nations is a critical issue at the moment and R.L.I.F. will look into it in the near future on the criteria, given the circumstances.”
The story was first published online by Australian newspaper, Daily Telegraph, saying that high-powered officials will begin discussions to increase match payments come the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The move, as reported by the Sunday Mail, is supported by Australia’s star fullback, Billy Slater, who says upcoming nations should be rewarded after Tonga and Fiji’s strong performances in the recent World Cup.
However, Tagaloa says there are many factors to consider before even a pay rise could be looked at.
He says in order to justify for higher pays for Pacific Island teams and tier two nations, there should be a profit earning competition to stand for.
“Australia and England justifies their tier one stance because they have their Super League and N.R.L. competitions with steady revenue streams such Commercial T.V. rights,” he said.
New Zealand holds no local competition of their own, but rather a single club taking part in the N.R.L.
“New Zealand is because they have been there from the start but struggling in terms of competition and no steady revenue streams same as us and other teams,” he added.
Tagaloa says the N.R.L. has been active in pushing for more Pacific Island fixtures for a while now, but would still need more international competition to produce the revenue needed for such a feat to be accomplished.
“N.R.L. has been at the forefront since 2013 when we lobbied for more test matches and they have been instrumental with developing the Pacific given the Pacific Island’s contribution into the game and the N.R.L. competition,” he said.
“However, we are looking at enforcing that opportunity with the properties to be elevated for our teams fixtures and increased returns to compensate players and contribute to the development of the game,” he said.
Realistically, he says there is still a long way to go for a pay rise to be in store for tier two nations.
“I can’t say much as resolutions need to be discussed around the R.L.I.F. table for any new issues. The eligibility rules really have an impact in this year’s World Cup,” he said.
There is no clear implication as to whether a pay rise would mean tier two nations advancing to tier one, which would highly affect the player pools where Pacific Island teams would choose from in the near future.