Calls for a better balance have been made for the competition to represent all regions.
Leading rugby league administrator Ivan Ravu, who has made unsuccessful bids for a Central franchise, made this comments when receiving a K100,000 funding commitment from Central Governor Kila Haoda for next year’s Southern Region Nines tournament.
Ravu said discussions were also progressing well with the governor’s office to support a Central franchise’s application for entry into the Digicel Cup competition in 2015.
He said the composition of Digicel Cup at present was unbalanced with the Highlands region with six teams, Momase (one) New Guinea Islands (one), NCD (one) and Gulf (one).
He said the Central and Southern region had a large player base and allowance should be more teams from these areas.
“Central province and Southern region has large player based and I believe that given the opportunity will play a major role in PNG’s performance at international matches as proven in the past.”
However, there is no clear policy on a quota system to guide the make-up of the competition.
Digicel Cup general manager Hubert Warupi or National Rugby League board chairman could not be reached for comments yesterday.
But the NRL board meets and decides on the composition of the team on an annual basis with clubs from the previous year having a head-start on others if they didn’t have any outstanding issues with the board.
Expression of interest from new clubs are also looked at these meetings but the NRL has set adopted a set of strict conditions which intending teams have to fulfil.
This includes having a healthy bank balance or demonstrate to the board a convincing case of putting together an amount of money with the vicinity of over K500,000.
Other criterion includes a suitable home ground meeting standards set by the NRL board and having a player base that can adequately supply the franchise.
Ravu as the Southern region 9s chief executive officer thanked Governor Haoda for supporting the tournament and backing their Digicel Cup bid.
He was very grateful for the support as the tournament has been self-funded with Haoda’s pledge a great relief.
“One of the objectives of the tournament is to provide opportunity to young players from Southern region to showcase their rugby league skills at a six-day event and there is no shortage of skills and speed displayed recently,” Ravu said.
“Some of the funds will be directed towards training of new and young referees in the region in the rural areas hopefully this will improve refereeing in the rural competitions in the districts,” Ravu said.
Meanwhile, a brief meeting with Andrew Merchant recently was very positive whereby he agreed to assist in conducting a referee’s clinic at a latter date convenient with his Australian Federal Police duties early in 2014.
Ravu said Merchant’s input would help the tournament.