IRB broker agreement to keep Fiji in world cup

The International Rugby Board (IRB) said Saturday it had brokered an agreement between the Fiji’s rugby union and government which should keep the Pacific island nation in this year’s World Cup.

“The government’s commitment to significant investment in Fiji’s Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign (will) go ahead as previously planned,” the IRB said in a statement.

The agreement follows talks in Suva earlier this month involving IRB chief executive Mike Miller, Fiji Sports Minister Filipe Bole and local rugby officials.

Miller flew to Fiji following reports the military government was withholding Fiji$3 million ($1.6 million) in World Cup funding after an investigation found the FRU had mismanaged funds from a lottery.

“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached … ensuring that the focus of the national team remains firmly on preparing for Rugby World Cup 2011,” Miller said in the statement.

“All three parties want to ensure a framework for the Fiji national team to perform to the best of its abilities in New Zealand and it is encouraging that we now have an agreement in place that underscores this objective.

“The government’s financial support is both generous and unprecedented.”

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