Samoan Rugby Union ‘bankrupt’ as RFU pledge £75,000 ‘goodwill gesture’ in attempt to keep autumn Test alive

The Rugby Football Union will make a goodwill payment of £75,000 to the Samoan Rugby Union after it was declared bankrupt on Wednesday, with the Pacific Island’s prime minister holding a radiothon all day in an attempt to generate donations.

Samoa are scheduled to face Scotland this weekend and England in three weeks’ time in the autumn internationals, but both Tests are now in doubt after the union was declared “insolvent” on Wednesday by prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao, who is also the chairman of the SRU.

He confirmed that there is not enough money for the players to be paid for this autumn’s Tests, and also added that they could not even be insured for the games because the union is “bankrupt”.

The shortage of money among the Pacific Islands – in particular Samoa – has been common knowledge a number of months, yet little has been done to help filter the large amounts of money that are in the game down to the smaller tier two nations. World Rugby has been urged to carry out a review into the governance of the SRU, but as yet have not taken any action.

The RFU confirmed on Wednesday that they will offer a “goodwill gesture” of £75,000 to Samoa – the same as what they offered Fiji last year – as well as cover all over their costs while they are in London, with the Scotland Rugby Union also set to cover costs.

However, the offer fewer than 10 per cent of what the RFU generate from home Tests at Twickenham, with a sum of around £10m generated whenever England play at home.

Sailele Malielegao revealed that the SRU cannot afford to pay or insure players (Getty)

Speaking to Samoa Observer, Sailele Malielegao said: “We are bankrupt. In other words we are insolvent. It means the Union cannot continue to pay off our debts with the banks. We also need money to pay the players so they can continue to play.”

Samoa has played at every Rugby World Cup bar the inaugural tournament in 1987, and reached the…

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