The Samoan Rugby Union are bankrupt, it has been announced today. This news means that their upcoming tests with Scotland and England may be plunged into doubt.
The difference in income between the English players and their Samoa counterparts was highlighted last week, and Manu Tuilagi and Mako Vunipola called for a revenue-share with the opposition.
However, speaking today, the Samoan Prime Minister declared that the Union is bankrupt.
“We are bankrupt,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“In other words we are insolvent. It means the Union cannot continue to pay off our debts with the banks. We also need money to pay the players so they can continue to play.”
While the future of Samoan Rugby remains tricky, the short-term fixtures look likely to be honoured, as Scotland are willing to cover their expenses for their match this weekend, and England have offered a “goowill gesture” of £75,000 ahead of their game in Twickenham [per The Independent].
Nonetheless, this comes as a major setback to the Pacific Island nation as they attempt to build ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.