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Fiji lays off national rugby coach as part of restructuring after IRB funding cut

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The Fiji Rugby Union has terminated the contract of national coach Inoke Male in a "restructuring" that follows an International Rugby Board decision to withhold funding from the union over concerns about its financial management and governance.

Male was named Tuesday as one of five senior employees discarded by the union as it attempts to win back the confidence of the IRB which earlier this month suspended all financial support of Fiji rugby. The IRB funding was worth about 3.3 million Fiji dollars in 2013.

In a statement issued Monday, the Fiji union said it has "begun the restructure of FRU taking into consideration the financial constraints and the review by the International Rugby Board."

"FRU have made some positions redundant whilst the responsibilities of some positions have been absorbed by current staff and some positions will be re-advertised," the statement said.

"FRU has implemented the termination clauses in their FRU contracts and will be paying the employees two to three months salary as part of the termination clause specified in their respective contracts."

Male became Fiji national coach in 2012. Under his coaching Fiji won the Pacific Nations Cup tournament last year for the first time in its history and jumped five places on world rankings, from 16th to 11th.

The Fiji union said the national coaching position would be advertised "locally and internationally."

The Fiji National Sports Commission recently approved a grant to cover the national coach's salary after previously agreeing to pay the salary of national sevens coach Ben Ryan.

The IRB said its decision to withhold Fiji's funding was "reluctantly made after the union failed to implement recommended measures to provide assurances to the IRB that it was appropriately moving to address significant concerns."

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