Reported by Iliesa Tora for Radio New Zealand, Lakapi Samoa, governing body of Samoan rugby, is set to hold discussions regarding the salaries and allowances for the Manu Samoa Sevens team. The move follows a letter from the team and meetings involving high-level officials, as confirmed by CEO Vincent Fepulai.
Fepulai acknowledged the receipt of a players' letter and a meeting held on January 19. The Lakapi Samoa board will review the requests, with any adjustments to player benefits dependent on the union's financial capabilities.
This development comes in the wake of public comments by former Samoa sevens player Elijah Niko, who criticised the current financial treatment of players and urged them to seek better compensation. Niko highlighted the players' dedication and the hardships they face, including personal financial contributions he made to support them.
In response, Fepulai outlined the existing payment structure for the players, including weekly payments, tournament allowances, and bonuses for high tournament finishes. He emphasised the union's commitment to transparency and player welfare, dismissing Niko's claims as misleading.
As of now, the Samoa sevens team ranks ninth in the World Rugby Sevens series, having faced recent challenges in the Perth 7s tournament. Lakapi Samoa continues to prioritise open communication and fair practices in managing the team.