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Calls for tighter control of sports ‘imports’

Saturday April 07, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams has called for better monitoring of people who come to the Cook Islands to play sport.


Her call comes after a number of “imported” players appeared before her in the Cook Islands High Court on Thursday. One of the men was charged with common assault and another faced a charge of being unlawfully found on private property.

Williams agreed with the submissions made by prosecution, which noted there had been a steady increase in the number of overseas players appearing before the courts. Williams said this was not acceptable, especially when the players are still under contract. She added that she would like to see clauses in the player’s contracts that stipulated that they would be punished if they got into trouble with the police.

Cook Islands Rugby League (CIRL) president Charles Carlson says he is aware of only 10 people who were brought here to play in the domestic rugby league competition this year. Currently any person who comes to the Cook Islands for work purposes and has been here for under 12 months, will be classed as an import if they decide to play league. Each club is allowed a maximum of four imported players. However, Carlson admits some clubs have attempted to manoeuvre around the rules, hoping to avoid being caught over the quota.

Carlson said he would raise the issue with the league clubs around Rarotonga.

“It is the clubs that bring these players in…ultimately they are responsible for their own players”.

He disagreed that the CIRL should have to discipline the players.

“They break the rules of rugby league - they get penalised. They break the laws of the land - they suffer the consequences.”

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