Business owner and Bournemouth 7s Festival Director, Roger Woodall, helped raise over £10,000 for Samoan rugby players who face an uncertain future following the bankruptcy of the Samoan Rugby Union (SRU).
Woodall, an advocate of equality and fairness in sport, was motivated to take action after discovering England players would be paid over 30 times more than their Samoan counterparts at a sold-out Twickenham in November 2017.
After conceiving of the #HelpSamoa campaign, Roger sought support from his contacts in rugby and the wider community in order to raise both money and awareness for the predicament that Samoan players found themselves in.
The money raised by the campaign has now been distributed among Samoan players, helping supplement the divide whilst the SRU seeks long-term solutions for the increasing funding gap.
“Samoa is a passionate rugby-playing nation and I was shocked to discover the disparity in pay,” said Roger.
“I met with Daniel Leo who set up the ‘Pacific Rugby Players Welfare’ (PRPW), and he explained to me that he set this organisation up as there is nothing in place to protect the players now or in the future.”
“I was also devastated to find out that due to the massive culture shock of competing in this environment and all the pressures that come with having to send money back home to provide for their families, 5 players have taken their own lives in the past 5 years”.
PRPW Director, Dan Leo has praised the support coming from community:
“The #HelpSamoa campaign just proves that there is a lot of goodwill out there among the greater rugby community, not just for Samoan rugby, but also Tonga and Fiji”.
Test matches with both Scotland and England were thrown into doubt last year after the SRU claimed that it couldn’t afford to pay for players’ insurance or fees, and that debts were mounting.
With both games eventually going ahead, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) provided a contribution, and numerous opposition players offered to donate a portion of their match fees. However, Leo claims that the current deficit will need more enduring solutions.
“For the long-term sustainability of the game, lower ranked teams need more financial investment than is currently afforded by World Rugby and Tier 1 nations”
“It’s not fair that the visiting sides receive none of the gate-takings. #HelpSamoa helped highlight this and we thank everyone who supported this important campaign.