Oceania is the great power of rugby players worldwide. Countries that many would not know how to place on the map, such as Samoa, Tonga or Fiyi, and others like Australia or the almighty New Zealand, cradle of All BlacksThey have some of the best players in the world, which has generated a huge business around them that in many cases borders on mafia and morally questionable practices, when not directly criminal.
This is the basis for reporting ‘Oceans Apart: greed, betrayal and Pacific rugby’ (“Oceans away: greed, betrayal and rugby in the Pacific”), an Amazon Prime Video documentary that is currently only available in Anglo-Saxon territory. In it, managers, former players and active players from those countries point out the evils of a system behind which is the very World Rugby, which takes advantage of the socioeconomic problems of those countries for these practices.
“The reason why there will be no changes is that the people who remain in order not to lose power are those who have power,” begins the trailer for the documentary, before pointing directly to those responsible for World Rugby with its president Bill Beaumont to the head.
Top level players who do not even receive a salary, some unemployed or even homeless people They are our daily bread, in a sport in which they also do not enter based on their successes. “How can it be that England players get so much money and the islanders so little?” Asks one of the participants in the documentary.
Express nationalizations, children who are directly snatched from their parents and mounted on planes by dozens … “This is not very different from a slave ship”, highlights another of the participants, to exemplify it. All this with a movement of money that neither the national federations nor the countries obtain, although their leaders do.
The rulers’ collusion with abusive practices in the world of professional rugby in Oceania reaches surreal limits. “If the president of the Fiji Rugby Union is in jail for murder, I think something is wrong”, They give an example in the documentary.
Little by little these situations are being denounced, although it has cost some to fall into ostracism. The former player And Leo, who testifies in the documentary, was expelled from the Samoa national team for targeting this endemic corruption.
He is the visible head of this movement, and for years he has been raising his voice against the excesses in the national team of his country, as when in 2011 they did a fundraiser to raise money for training in the national team. Millions of dollars disappeared.