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Warriors fined $4000 for forfeit

Tuesday 20 March 2012 | Published in Regional


The Takuvaine Warriors have been slapped with a $4000 fine for forfeiting their Aitutaki match against the Sharks, but have been given the chance to redeem themselves for the default.

The Cook Islands Rugby League (CIRL) has ordered the Warriors to travel to Aitutaki for in their next scheduled match against the Sharks for the 2012 season.

The CIRL executive committee met yesterday to hand the Warriors its penalty for forfeiting its Aitutaki match, which was scheduled to be played on Friday.

The committee decided to impose the maximum $4000 penalty upon the Warriors, but offered the club a chance to make amends for the forfeit.

CIRL has ordered the Warriors to travel to Aitutaki to play the Sharks during the teams’ second match of the regular season.

The $4000 fine will be put towards the Warriors’ travel expenses.

The decision means that the Warriors have, in effect, defaulted on their home match against the Sharks.

If the Warriors do not travel to Aitutaki for their next match against the Sharks, the CIRL will impose the $4000 fine and use the funds to bring the Sharks to Rarotonga for the game.

“The aim here is to encourage clubs to participate in the competition and not to punish. But if they don’t, then they get punished. CIRL have made it achievable for all clubs to travel to Aitutaki so there shouldn’t be any excuse not to,” CIRL president Charles Carlson said.

In a release handed to Cook Islands News yesterday, the CIRL said the $4000 fine represented the maximum value that the club could be penalised and shows that the CIRL was serious about keeping the game in Aitutaki.

“This is the biggest fine imposed on any club by the CIRL for defaulting a game,” the CIRL said in a release.

“...CIRL made it clear at the start of the season if any club forfeits their game they will have to suffer the consequences as well, of not only forfeiting their points but also face a hefty fine from the CIRL.

“This certainly sends a strong message to all clubs of the consequences of defaulting a game.”

Cook Islands News was unable to contact Warriors president Oki Apera yesterday.

CIRL acknowledged that the Warriors had faced a tough start to the season because the team has been playing away from their home ground while it was undergoing repairs.

But it reminded the Warriors that they had committed before the 2012 season to travelling to Aitutaki once to play the Sharks.

Sharks president Mona Ioane said he couldn’t see what the issue is all about when the Sharks had to pay that amount six times to compete in the domestic season and the Rarotonga clubs only had to pay it once.

Aitutaki mayor John Baxter echoed Ioane’s thoughts, saying that if the relatively small island could raise the funds to travel south six times in the season, the larger Rarotonga could do the same for each of its clubs.

Baxter thanked the CIRL for its commitment to Aitutaki and hoped the decision sent a clear message to the Rarotonga clubs.

In the end, Baxter said the people of Aitutaki just wanted to see rugby league being played on their island.

“We’re playing for the spirit of the game and when it is Aitutaki’s turn for a home game the game should have been played,” he said.

Rumours that the Tupapa Panthers were going to follow the Warrior’s lead and forfeit their Aitutaki match have still been circulating at the island.

In its release, the CIRL hinted at this rumour and although it did not name the Panthers directly, it said that those ideas of forfeiting seem to have disappeared.

“One of the clubs was thinking of also forfeiting their game but decided that they will find the finds to travel to Aitutaki instead of paying the $4000 to CIRL,” the CIRL said.