(Photo: Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Vinnie Wylie)
The Lakapi Samoa has confirmed receiving a letter of complaint by “some of the players” in the Manu Samoa 7’s directed to the Pacific Rugby Players Association and forwarded to Lakapi Samoa.
This is contrary to earlier reports the letter was to World Rugby Players Association.
The Board of the Lakapi Samoa has acted “swiftly” to appoint a sub-committee to investigate the matter and report back urgently. This is according to a statement issued Sunday evening by the Samoa Lakapi.
The statement was issued after concerns by the Manu Samoa Seven players in Dubai, who have penned their frustrations over claims of alleged “mistreatment” and “bullying” by the management team in a letter to the Pacific Rugby Players Association.
The players are in Dubai for the HSBC world sevens series for 2022 and are calling for a review and investigation of the Management team.
Thirteen 13 players contracted COVID-19 shortly after arriving in Dubai which in their opinion was completely avoidable.
The claims are outlined in a letter which was obtained by Radio Polynesia.
But a statement issued the Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i said: “It is deeply concerning to learn of this and we are ensuring that we go through a proper process. Our people’s well-being and welfare is paramount during this time as we seek a resolution.
“Lakapi Samoa together with our key stakeholders is liaising at all times with the team and management and are proud of their sacrifice to represent Samoa during these difficult times of the global pandemic.,” says the statement.
The players in their letter expressed concerns that after arriving in Dubai, the Management in between intense training sessions, made them visit highly populated public places for example local malls rather than keeping them safe.
“More concerning was having the choice and forcing us to visit places where the likelihood of contracting the virus was imminent.”
This has ultimately led to them missing out on playing in Spain.
“During the time we were COVID positive after only several days of arriving into camp in Dubai, we were placed into isolation with no support, close to zero communication from management and very limited food and water.”
The letter says that when some of the players decided to order in food, these were allegedly intercepted by management and either eaten by them or discarded.
“We were then sent messages from management calling us players “ungrateful” “no sacrifice” and “unworthy”.
“This is far from the truth,” according to the letter.