The Samoa Rugby Union, recently rebranded to Lakapi Samoa, have written to urgently correct a headline that states the Union had recorded a loss of $6.7 million tala which has already caused damage to the organisation’s reputation while it is in the middle of negotiations for sponsorship deals.
Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai, Lapaki Samoa says they are disappointed with a front page headline of Samoa’s daily newspaper, stating that the union had recorded a $6.7 million tala loss in the past financial year.
In a letter emailed to editors of all local news outlets, Lakapi Samoa Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai says, “it is obvious the reporter did not understand the Financial Report, nor bothered to reach out for clarification and comment from Lakapi Samoa”.
Faleomavaega states in his press release, that the $6.7 million tala reported by the newspaper and widely shared on its social media sites as the Union’s annual “loss” is actually the amount of decrease of the Union’s income for 2020 due to the cancellation of all fixtures and internationals.
The $6.7 million reported as a loss was the difference between the income of the 2020 financial year, compared to 2019.
“Lakapi Samoa’s revenue dropped from $12.5 million in 2019 to $5.8 million in 2020 (a $6.7m decrease),” writes the Lakapi Samoa CEO.
The cancellation of all international matches due to travel restrictions of the global COVID-19 pandemic, meant there were no sponsorships received for those fixtures. This in turn also affected the Union’s usual revenue generating activities such as hosting matches and gate takings.
Faleomavaega explains that no international events also meant the Union’s expenditure then also decreased substantially.
“There was also a decrease in expenditure of $5.9 million tala, and so the overall net loss for the year 2020 was $542k tala,” clarifies the CEO.
“It is really disappointing and frustrating that the heading of the article is an attempt to mislead,” said Faleomavaega who adds that Lakapi Samoa is in the middle of sponsorship negotiations with external potential partners and the misleading headline has been a huge setback to the Union’s efforts to raise its profile.
“Samoa Observer’s heading has already created huge negativity and unfair scathing attacks on all social media forums towards Lakapi Samoa,” says Faleomavaega.
The Manu Samoa 15s qualified for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in June this year, after two back to back wins over Tonga’s Ikale Tahi by 42-13 and 37-15 respectively.
Faleomavaega says the impact of COVID has affected national Unions around the globe in the past two years, and World Rugby has stepped in to assist the majority of its member Unions, including Lakapi Samoa.
“I trust that you will retract and re-print a true state of affairs of the Union as reflected in its
Annual Audited Financial Report in the front page of your newspaper as the damage has already been done by your misrepresentation,” writes the CEO.
Faleomavaega observed that the responses of the public under the comments section of the news site’s Facebook page, “are all made without reading the article but based on your 6.7m tala loss heading”
“To quote that Lakapi Samoa records $6.7 million loss is a misrepresentation,” he said.
Lakapi Samoa letter