Papua New Guinea Rugby League, whilst enjoy a boom in terms of players numbers and club, is facing a new problem, with only eight out of the 31 major leagues affiliating with the PNGRFL (the national body of the game). Under an ultimatum put out by the PNGRFL, all regions must affiliate with the national body before the Annual General Meeting (in 2 weeks) or face the prospect of being excluded from domestic competitions, and having players from those competition ineligible for the Kumul national side.
The PNGRFL is no stranger to its district leagues having a very laid back approach to the whole affiliation process, one of the main reasons the national SP Cup competition collapsed four years ago. The PNGRFL however had been hoping that with 2004 getting off to such a great start, and with all 31 major leagues expressing interest to affiliate in October last year, the good run was expected to continue.
As of date however only Magarima, Nondugl, Port Moresby, Koiari, Porgera, Bulolo, Wau and Gumine have fully registered and paid the associated fees for the year.
Six further leagues in the shape of Mt Hagen, Rabaul, Goroka, Kundiawa, Tabubil and Kainantu are currently in the process of getting together the funded needed to affiliate, and are expected to join by the weekend whilst 18 other leagues have not contacted the PNGRFL directly since October.
The tardy leagues are Lae, Kimbe, Bialla, Kavieng, Baiyer, Banz, Mendi, Pangia, Wabag, Imbongu, Alotau, Poreporena, Popondetta, Kiunga, Kerema, Malalaua, Wewak and Madang.
The cost for affiliation to the PNGRFL is K2750 (A$ 1,071.35) which whilst is a significant amount for each league, is required by the PNGRFL in order to put together the events such as the National Zone championship which draw the sponsors for the league.