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DateLine Sunday, 8 April 2007

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DIG Nimal Lewke heads ARFU

Most countries unhappy with Kiwi Secretary-General

RUGBY: DIG Nimal Lewke, who heads the elite Special Task Force (STF) of the Sri Lanka Police, who is also the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), was appointed President of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) at a meeting of ARFU in Hong Kong which coincided with the Hong Kong International 7?s.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer DIG Lewke, said that there will be certain constitutional changes of the ARFU which will be taken up in July to be implemented from November. Also, the ARFU will in future elect their office-bearers through votes which was an unanimous decision of the 24 member countries.

He further said that most of the Asian countries (including Japan and South Korea) were unhappy with New Zealander Jamie Scott as its Secretary-General, but will continue in his post till the next annual general meeting.

Lewke also said that the Asiad is to be scrapped and there will be a system where the top five nations play in one tournament with the other five playing in another. There is also to be a promotion/relegation system in future.

Japan who are to represent Asia in the Rugby World Cup (RWC) final-rounds in France in September-October requested that they (Japan) play an Asian Barbarians side before the RWC and that each country in the region will be given the opportunity of nominating five players each with trials etc to be in charge of Gallaher the Development Office of the International Rugby Board (IRB). Japan will meet all expenses for the trials plus match, including air fare, hotel accommodation etc.

DIG Lewke also made a presentation as to the reasons why Sri Lanka should go ahead and stage the postponed Asiad in the country from November 3 to 10. He briefed the ARFU members about the security situation prevailing in Sri Lanka and the reasons why the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will not target the international community.

He had given details of what has happened in the past and also quoted top notch LTTE spokesman on this subject.

?There was a good response with Sid Miller, President of the IRB sending a team to Sri Lanka later this month to liaise with the British High Commission authorities in Colombo about the security situation etc. It will be only after the final report is submitted to the IRB that the decision will be made to stage the Asiad in Sri Lanka? said DIG Lewke. Miller was an observer at the ARFU meeting earlier this month.

 

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