Friday, August 26, 2011

Bid dream over


THE O'Neill government is not interested in pursuing the K20 million NRL Bid.
That comes from the headman himself, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
He told the media on Wednesday: "Rugby league is important for us Papua New Guineans. However, the proposal (NRL Bid) is not feasible because the NRL CEO David Gallop has said he will accept no more teams. We are not going to chase a dream that might or might not become reality."
O'Neill said when the time was right and a feasible proposal was put before it, the government would consider a bid but that time was not now.
His attention is diverted more towards building up sports and sporting facilities in the country.
For that he said the government would be using funds available from the National Gaming Control Board.
Money from the gaming board would be used to develop sports and infrastructure for the 2015 Pacific Games in PNG (Port Moresby) and for the PNG Games in East New Britain (Kokopo) next year.
O'Neill also expressed concern about the use of the K20 million that had been allocated the NRL Bid team.
He said there had been reports that the money had been misused, and that an investigation would be conducted to establish a full accounting for the money.
The Bid under the chairmanship of former sports minister Philemon Embel had set up an office in Port Moresby employing Australian staff as well as experienced local rugby league officers on a casual basis since its inception in 2009.
During that time the Bid board underwent several controversial changes of personnel with the most notable being Australian league legend Mal Meninga's resignation as a member of the board.
Gold Coast Titans board member Paul Broughton and wife Beverly held a position on the board for a period but stepped aside, citing a conflict of interest with their association with the Titan franchise.
The PNG Bid was always an outside chance at best to get an NRL licence and the timeframe initially suggested was fiver years but the reality was it could take the country anywhere from a decade to be fully prepared to launch a team into the world's best professional rugby league competition.
Classified as a special government project by the former National Alliance-led government the Bid's dossier  as stated on the official website was to  "secure a licence to enter a team into the National Rugby League competition and promote rugby league to deliver positive social and economic benefits for the people of PNG".
However with entry an unlikely possiblilty in the foreseeable future calls have been made to re-focus on other options like entering a team into the Queensland Cup

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