John O'Connor has warned players about unscrupulous agents, Kit Shepard reports

Chinese agencies a threat to players, Fiji rugby chief warns

Fiji rugby’s chief executive is seriously concerned over approaches from Chinese agents and agencies, he has said through official channels.

John O’Connor, chief executive of the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) fears there is an unrecognised agency recruiting Fijians to play in a competition in China. He added that some players are believed to already have agreed to travel to China and are in camp quarantining before flying to Beijing.

O’Connor said: “We understand there is an agent or agency from China currently in the country.

“Some of the national players have also been approached by these sneaky agents or agencies.

“FRU does not recognise this agency and we are warning players to be aware of such scrupulous agents.”

O’Connor announced that any player involved with the organisation in question would not be granted international release.

China’s rugby authorities have not informed him of a professional tournament in the country or the prospect of agents recruiting players.

Neither the FRU nor the Fijian government recognised the company as a recruitment agency.

He encouraged Fiji players to obtain guidance from their high-performance unit coaches if approached.

O’Connor praised the Korean Rugby Union, which is liaising with the FRU as it seeks to form a professional competition with international players.

The South Pacific nation has had previous issues with agents. In 2018, a Rugby World special report detailed how rogue agents financially exploit Pacific Island players by taking up to half of their salary as commission.

Fiji-born All Black Joe Rokocoko said: “We need to educate players on what to expect from an agent, what power he has and you have.”

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