All Black Malakai Fekitoa reportedly withdraws support for Tongan rugby after criticism

All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa. Photo / Brett Phibbs

All Black Malakai Fekitoa reportedly says he will stop helping the people of Tonga after claims on social media that he incited a brawl during a Christmas sevens tournament.

He has come under criticism in his homeland, accused of "ill-mannered, barbaric and unprofessional behaviour" during the tournament he organised.

In a post on its Facebook page, Pacific Island Tourism alleges Fekitoa abused a referee during the tournament semifinal, a game that was eventually called off when spectators joined an on-field fight.

As the melee escalated, the referee was allegedly punched to the ground and sustained serious injuries. There was no suggestion Fekitoa was physically involved in the brawl, although the Pacific Island Tourism post accuses him of inciting it.

"This is our assessment of Malakai," posted Pacific Island Tourism.

"We appreciated your love and effort towards sports in our country. You, an ALL BLACK, have lowered yourself and your glory when you verbally abused the referee during the game.

"I would like to remind Malakai Fekitoa that the youth of Tonga look up to you as a Ha'apai male, ALL BLACK. However, because of your atrocious behavior towards the people of Tonga, this tournament has become unpopular, so no referee would be involved in refereeing this event."

New Zealand Kaniva Pacific, a local Tongan media source, is reporting that Fekitoa responded to the allegations with a Facebook post that claimed he would no longer try to help his homeland.

He also alleged the referee was drunk.

"When I looked at the media regarding this, it came to me that Tongans put down other Tongans. So the immediate thought that comes to mind is that this is the end of any planned programme to help people of Ha'apai and Tonga, for that matter.

"I'm out!"

The Facebook post quoted by New Zealand Kaniva Pacific is not publicly visible on Fekitoa's account.

The Herald has sought comment from Fekitoa and his manager.

- NZ Herald

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