Secretary clears air on S.A.B.A. row

By Ulimasao Fata ,

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Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala.

Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala.

The General Secretary of the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (S.A.B.A.), Faletolu Su’a, has welcomed the appointment of a Sports Disputes Tribunal to look into a dispute involving former President and rugby legend, Fesola’i Va’aiga Tu’igamala.

Fesola’i’s removal by S.A.B.A. last year has reached all the way to the top with Cabinet appointing a Tribunal that includes Justice Mata Tuatagataloa, former Cabinet Minister, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau and Reverend Dr. Siaosi Salesulu.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Su’a said the dispute is unnecessary. He said Fesola’i was not removed from S.A.B.A’s Presidency. 

“Rather we had followed the 12 months allocated to him as the President,” Faletolu told the Samoa Observer.

“It’s just that he didn’t want to leave the position. 

“So that is why he is telling everyone that the association is having disputes but there is nothing of the sort.”

Repeated attempts to get a comment from Fesola’i were unsuccessful. When the Samoa Observer visited his business, he was not there. 

But according to Su’a, S.A.B.A. had followed correct procedures by having the Annual General Meeting.

“That’s where the result of him no longer being a President came in.”

Su’a explained that Fesola’i came into S.A.B.A. because the Association respected him as a person and his initiative to revive boxing in Samoa.  

At the time, Su’a said Fesola’i was not a member of S.A.B.A. because he was a professional boxing Promoter.

He said professional boxing and amateur boxing do not mix.

“He came and brought in professional boxing and he hosted boxing tournaments and also tried to pull the amateurs into his tournaments,” he said.

“So it was out of our respect for him, that was the reason we asked him to sit in our meetings.”

Su’a said at the time when Fesola’i came into S.A.B.A. he had insisted on making changes, including the change of the Presidency from Auili’itia Fa’afouina Milford. 

He said Fesola’i became the President of S.A.B.A. after the Association’s 2016 A.G.M. 

“Out of mutual respect, that is why we accepted the motion by Tupa’i (Klaus Stunzner) for him to be President for 12 months, although the presidency is mandated for three years.”

Now that the dispute has surfaced, Su’a said there is hardly a dispute.

“The only issue is that he doesn’t want to let the position go,” he said. “There are no disputes within the association.”

He added the association is preparing for the upcoming international events they will participate in later on this year. 

Last week, documents obtained by the Samoa Observer show that the Cabinet decision to order a Tribunal followed a request that the “internal disputes within S.A.B.A.” – involving Fesola’i, Togatalima Faafouina Milford and others - are referred to the Samoa Sports Disputes Tribunal.

According to the Terms of Reference, the Tribunal has been asked to investigate:

• Whether the Annual General Meeting of S.A.B.A. on 10 November 2017 and whether correct and proper procedures were followed at this meeting;

• The current Executive membership of S.A.B.A. and whether such positions held were obtained appropriately;

• The removal of Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala as President of S.A.B.A. whether such removal followed proper procedure and the Constitution of SABA; and

• The Constitution of S.A.B.A. and if there are inconsistencies so as to cause confusion.

Cabinet has also asked the Tribunal to provide directions on: 

• The Constitution of S.A.B.A. and possible changes that make the Constitution clear, promotes accountability and responsibility; and

• Policies that may foster an environment of honesty, good governance and will be beneficial to development of amateur boxing.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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