Tag Football Club told it was not representing Samoa

The Samoan entry was represented alongside other countries at the Tag World Cup launch. Photo: ITF Tag World Cup Tag Football Club

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 01 NOVEMBER 2018: The Samoa International Tag Football club representing Samoa at the Tag Football World Cup kicking off at Coffs Harbour, Australia today has been told “they can’t be national representatives of Samoa and do not represent the country.”

This is the essence of a letter penned by The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi has written to the organisers and the club that “they are not recognised as flag bearers for Samoa.”

“How can this team talk of representing our country and your organisation endorse them, without actually receiving Samoa’s blessing? – You cannot.”

Members of the Samoa team at the Tag World Cup that starts today. Photo: ITF Tag World Cup

The Prime Minister further clarified that the endorsed government body overseeing the sport of TAG Rugby had tried to work through the issues but that there was a refusal to acknowledge Samoa’s right to select its own national representative team.

“We now have calls from other local and overseas players and teams asking who the national selectors are – certainly not any of you,” stressed the PM.

“The government policies are clear, the only teams that can be flag carriers, are those endorsed via selection as national reps, through Samoa Tag Incorporated, that is under the SASNOC Samoa.”

The Prime Minster concluded that, “given this situation, this letter serves to confirm, that the SITF teams, are not national representative teams, and are not selected flag bearers for Samoa.”

The club was contacted 12 months ago by the National Selection body as appointed by the Government of Samoa, and asked to take the steps required so that they could become recognised as national representatives.

The 2018 Tag World Cup is being held in Coffs Harbour, Australia. Photo: ITF Tag World Cup

The national body is the Samoa Tag Incorporated and is under SASNOC and the President is Fa’aofonu’u JP Leota.

“We have been trying for a year now to work with these organisations, but they refuse to acknowledge the authority of Samoa as a country, to select its own national reps, and they ignore our efforts to promote the game of TAG for all Samoans, not just their members,” explained Fa’aofonu’u.

“It is having an effect on all our nationals around the world who want to be a part of a properly selected national team. In effect, we have tried as the national TAG body to work with them and we have been ignored. They cannot therefore be endorsed as representing Samoa,” he said.