Power and performance: Fiji rugby’s transition from amateurism to professionalism
Rika, N and Finau, G and Samuwai, J and Kuma, C, Power and performance: Fiji rugby's transition from amateurism to professionalism, Accounting History, 21, (1) pp. 75-97. ISSN 1032-3732 (2016) [Refereed Article]
This article shows how accounting and rugby have been used as tools of control. It compares the role
of accounting in amateur and professional sport, initially analysing the Fiji Rugby Union’s (FRU) internal
documents from the period when Fiji was a British colony and rugby was an amateur sport. During this
period, the FRU practised rudimentary accounting since it relied primarily on internally-generated funds
and therefore had virtually no public accountability. The FRU board emphasized rugby’s core values
and downplayed the importance of money. However, in the professional period, donors require more
sophisticated financial reporting and auditing to monitor usage of their grants and evaluate the impact of
their investments. The FRU has encountered conflict with its donors due to repeated financial losses and
alleged mismanagement. This article reveals that those losses originated in the amateur period through
diseconomies of scale, inequitable arrangements for international matches and unsustainable funding models.
Rather than helping the FRU to address these underlying problems, powerful stakeholders continue using
financial resources and governance structures to control and exploit Fiji rugby.