The Northland Rugby Football Union has rejected statements made in several media articles, and on television, regarding its possible failure to participate in the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup.
Chairman Ajit Balasingham and CEO Cameron Bell issued a statement on Friday, saying references to Northland 'not being one of the starters' were incorrect and misleading. The NRU was, and always had been, committed to participating in a 14-team Mitre 10 Cup competition, as agreed with all other provincial unions, and had previously communicated that very clearly to NZ Rugby and Northland's own stakeholder base.
"The NRU board and staff were excited and focused when NZ Rugby confirmed on May 12 that a full 14-team Mitre 10 Cup competition would kick off on September 11," they said.
"We have accordingly ramped up planning and preparation, that was already in play, to align to the new start date.
"All provincial unions understand that their participation is subject to fully understanding the financial impact of doing so, and we eagerly await a resolution to the current negotiations between NZ Rugby, the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association and provincial unions to provide greater certainty around player costs to align more realistically with what we have been forced to undertake ourselves due to Covid-19.
"Whilst we have great lines of communication with our local media, NRU has not been approached for comment regarding participation in the competition by the media who published the national articles," they added.
"We are extremely disappointed that Northland has incorrectly been identified as a non-starter in the Mitre 10 Cup. This has created concern and distress across our passionate supporter base and confusion in the Mitre 10 coaching and player squad, which we are at pains to set straight.
"Even more so at a time like this, inaccurate speculation is unhelpful and an unnecessary distraction as we plan and look forward to the commencement of the community and high performance rugby season," he said.