“I’m out!” says Fekitoa after criticism of confrontation with referee

Tongan All Black Malakai Fekitoa said he would not run any more football tournaments in Ha’apai after there had been “too many hateful comments” on Facebook.

Kaniva News reports Fekitoa has been accused of interfering with the referee.

He organised a rugby tournament in Ha’apai as part of a family reunion before Christmas.

He hit back at his critics, saying they did not know the truth of what actually happened and claimed that the referee was not behaving properly. He said it was a case of Tongans trying to pull other Tongans down.

“I decided this would be the last for me to run a tournament to help Ha’apai and Tonga,” he wrote.

“I’m out!”

Fekitoa was also been accused of showing disrespect to Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva and the Minister for Tourism by turning up in shorts to a cocktail party to which he had been invited as guest of honour

Wearing shorts in front of important people is considered offensive and disrespectful in Tonga.

The two incidents have gone viral on Facebook and divided the online Tongan community.

Some have supported the footballer, saying that Tongans could never occupy top positions around the world if they were constantly pulled down by other Tongans. Others have implied that he has become too proud of his All Black status.

His behaviour at the reception has also been criticised, but other people present have been described as having been informally. The Prime Minister was said to have worn trousers and an aloha shirt.

His mother, Meleane, also commented on Facebook in support of Malakai.

“The tournament was organised as part of our family reunion…and Malakai sponsored it to help the youth,” she wrote.

“We did not know it would end up [this way].”

“I feel for him as he is my son.”

She said critics had let her down.

She also commented on the cocktail party.

“Malakai did not come with suits or ta’ovala as I was in Ha’apai and I was not there to prepare them for him,” she wrote.

“His head is not swelled and he is never snobbish. To all Ha’apai pardon us if we had made mistake. Love you heaps. And may you have a Happy and blessed New Year from the Fekitoa children’s mother.”

Fekitoa has spoken publicly about his anger management issues,

Earlier this year he posted a statement online saying: “I don’t handle some situations very well on and off the field. I get really angry sometimes and flip out.”

In November he was suspended for a week following a high tackle during a game against Ireland.