Pōhiva elected Tonga Rugby Union president

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has been re-elected as president of the Tonga Rugby Union.

Interim CEO Fe’ao Vunipola was re-elected as vice president.

Other members of the TRU committee who were elected yesterday are Tu’i Uata, ‘Aisea ‘Aholelei, Moimoi Fakahua,Tuipulotu Lauaki,Sione Vuki and Hon Poasi Tei.

Vunipola told Kaniva News this morning he was happy with the results.

“I thank God for he has urged rugby representatives to re-elect me and the Prime Minister so that we can complete two years for us to work for the Union before the Rugby World Cup 2019.

“We need your support and I apologised for any shortfall in the past”, Vunipola said in Tongan.

Meanwhile, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji have seen a 19 per cent increase in funding from World Rugby in the build up to the 2019 cup challenge.

World Rugby General Manager, High Performance Peter Horne said the international body was investing about £20 million (NZ$39 million/TP$60 million) in the 2016-2019 Pacific programme.

“Tonga’s win against Italy last November was a big push towards their Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification,” Horne said.

“As we work towards RWC 2019, we need to ensure the three Pacific Island teams are as competitive as possible.”

Court case

Earlier this year the TRU was involved in a major case in the Supreme Court after changes to its constitution were challenged by plaintiffs who argued not enough notice had been given to members before the annual general meeting.

The changes included an amendment to allow changes to the Constitution to be made on a simple majority vote, the appointment of the Prime Minister as the President of the TRU,
the removal of the members’ right to elect the President, the reduction in the number of representatives of sub-unions who were members of the TRU and a quota of local players to be selected in the national team.

Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the TRU had failed to comply with provisions in its Constitution, as a result of which unlawful decisions had been made.

He said not enough notice had been given and the amendments had been approved by a bare majority and not the 75% required.

Special meeting

The elections came after the Supreme Court appointed Acting Attorney General Aminiasi Kefu early last month as a Counsel to assist the Court (Amicus Curiae) and to convene a Special General Meeting of TRU.

Kefu was tasked with allowing members of TRU to fill vacancies under the TRU constitution.

Also to he had to allow members of TRU to consider any proposed alterations or amendments to the organisationʻs constitution.