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Samoa centre Escapes Punishment

 Sep 20,2011
Written by: Robert Lemmer
 

Samoa's rugby team escaped with a warning on Tuesday after a player blasted the World Cup's scheduling as "like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid" on Twitter.

Tournament officials accepted an official apology from the team after centre Eliota Sapolu-Fuimaono vented his anger on the micro-blogging service following Samoa's loss to Wales.

World Cup organisers called the comments "inappropriate" but said there would be no sanctions.

"While RWCL (Rugby World Cup Limited) believes the nature of the comments to be inappropriate and has warned the Samoa Rugby Union regarding future social media conduct, RWCL has accepted an official apology and is satisfied with the proactive measures that the Union has outlined to RWCL to address the matter," a statement said.

"There will be no further action and RWCL considers the matter to be closed."

Sapolu Fuimaono had been facing possible disciplinary action over his outburst over a timetable which gives bigger teams longer intervals between games to maximise weekend TV audiences.

The Gloucester player was incensed that Samoa had just three days to recover from their previous game while Wales had a week. Samoa led 10-6 at half-time but faded in the second half as Wales won 17-10.

"IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple. #equ[al]ity #justice," Sapolu Fuimaono tweeted, referring to the International Rugby Board.

Later he added: "Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid.

"Give Wales 3 days off and give Samoa a week! We would kill them!

"You can't get punished for speaking out against injustice. That would be unjust. Anyone can tackle a man. Try tackling injustice."

The IRB had earlier defended its scheduling and said the Twitter tirade was disappointing.

"We are aware of the comments and find the context of them disappointing," an IRB spokesman said.

The Welsh win over Samoa means that they are now in pole position to take the second qualifying position from the tough Pool D behind defending champions South Africa.

Several of the "tier-two" nations, like Canada, Georgia and Namibia, have also complained about the turn-around times between games, which they say discriminates against them.

The top teams from the Six Nations and Tri Nations tournaments in general have been accorded more time to recover between matches.

The IRB said the match schedule took into account fan appeal, spread of matches across New Zealand and player welfare, as well as broadcast and commercial considerations.

"While it is unavoidable that some teams have a more compressed schedule than others, we have worked to ensure no team has two three day periods in a row as well as minimising travel," the IRB spokesman said.

"There are five teams that have 14 rest days or less, down from seven in 2007 and eight in 2003."

Demands from broadcasters, who provide about 60 percent of the IRB's tournament revenue, are a major factor in the scheduling pile-up facing small teams, with pressure to play major nations in prime weekend spots.

The World Cup involves 20 teams split into four groups of five with the top two teams after a round-robin qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The controversy coincides with a similar row engulfing men's tennis, with top players threatening strike action over their gruelling schedule.

 

Tags: International |  Samoa | 
 
 
 
 

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