Official word from the NZRL

The New Zealand Rugby League has announced Selwyn Bennett has resigned from his position as Executive Chairperson of the NZRL Board.

The resignation comes in response to the ruling of the Tri Nations Subcommittee which led to the deduction of the Kiwis? two competition points following Nathan Fien being ruled to be ineligible to play for the Kiwis.

The New Zealand Rugby League board has confirmed Andrew Chalmers has been appointed to the role of acting Chairperson until elections take place at the next NZRL annual general meeting in March 2007.

?Selwyn Bennett has acknowledged that he was solely responsible for the decision to rule Nathan Fien eligible to play for the Kiwis and now accepts that his honest mistake about interpretation and administrative procedures led to this outcome,? Chalmers said.

?At a meeting held yesterday afternoon, the NZRL Board has accepted Mr Bennett?s resignation.

?In doing so the Board has acknowledged that Mr Bennett has made his decision in the best interest of the game going forward.

?This outcome is regrettable, given the extremely hard work Mr Bennett has performed for New Zealand Rugby League over many years.?

Chalmers said the New Zealand Rugby League would act swiftly to begin a review of all processes including selection eligibility following this situation.

?I acknowledge that the NZRL?s immediate priority will be to regain the confidence and trust of our stakeholders, the public and the fans.

?Our members, partners and the New Zealand public need to know that we are taking responsibility for this issue and steps will be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

?The NZRL apologises, and we are deeply sorry for the hurt and suffering caused to Nathan and his family as a result of this. Mr Fien has always been completely honest in all his discussions and disclosures to the NZRL regarding this issue.

?The Board would also like to acknowledge the position of the Kiwis side, and we ask all our fans throughout the country, and around the world to get in behind the Kiwis as they battle to retain their Gillette Tri-Nations title.

?Finally I believe we will recover from this, because the great game of rugby league is bigger than us all.?