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Soccer split dire: PNG Sports Minister

Papua New Guinea Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko says the only course of action to resolve the split in soccer in the country is for Fifa to intervene.

At present, the duly-recognised soccer governing body in Papua New Guinea is the PNG Football Association headed by David Chung, while John Kapi Natto and  12 former PNGFA affiliates have broken away to start the Football Federation PNG.

Tkatchenko said there was a need for soccer to be united and he was concerned after the FFPNG was launched in Port Moresby over the weekend.

He said the best option was for soccer’s world governing body to step in to help restore football in the country.

“I think Fifa should come down hard on PNGFA and FFPNG,” Tkatchenko said.

“Enough is enough. Let’s think about football.

“We have not heard from Fifa on this matter even though David Chung is the vice-president (Oceania) of the organisation.”

Tkatchenko said Fifa’s lack of concern for the situation in PNG was troubling.

“I’m sure they must be wondering about what’s going on in Papua New Guinea, where we have two separate bodies running the same sport.”

Tkatchenko said soccer was being pulled apart by two men, Chung and Kapi Natto, who were both passionate about the sport but allowing them to continue on their separate paths would only cause more problems.

“These men have a heart for the sport, unfortunately they cannot see eye-to-eye and work together.”

Tkatchenko said as the minister responsible for sports, he had no power to direct or intervene but he could only advise them on the way forward for the benefit of football.

Tkatchenko said that while Kapi Natto and Chung continued to oppose each other, the biggest losers would be the players, clubs and fans.

“We must come to the table to find to find an amicable resolution and plot a way forward for football in the country,” the minister said.

He hoped that common sense prevailed at the end of the day and if things continued as they were, it would only cause embarrassment.

Tkatchenko said Chung told him that he had other important commitments to attend as Fifa vice-president and referred him to PNGFA acting president John Wesley Gonjuan.

He said while it would be good to see Gonjuan to discuss the matter at the end of the day the final word would need to come from Chung.

“David Chung has to be here on the ground and speak to me and John Kapi Natto and get this issue resolved,” Tkatchenko said.

“I am very happy to be the mediator as I know both men well. There has to be a discussion and I need to know where we are at before I can write to Fifa, which will be the last resort,” he said.

Tkatchenko said he needed both men to explain their positions and for a compromise to be struck otherwise the sport would suffer.

“It’s very unfortunate, we have two great men who are so passionate about soccer but they’re  damaging the sport at the same time.”.

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