Transformation group calls for boycott of Kings

Transformation group dissatisfied with SA Rugby’s control over EP union’s affairs

There has been a call by the Rugby Transformation Coalition (RTC) for clubs and fans to boycott Southern Kings Pro14 matches until SA Rugby hands control of the franchise back to the EP Rugby Union.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Eastern Cape chapter of the RTC at the Adcock Stadium on Monday night,

The call for a boycott comes after a small crowd of 3 011 fans watched the Kings’ opening Pro14 home match against Leinster on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said calls for a boycott would damage rugby’s reputation.

“I am sure that the one thing the EP rugby public wants above all else is a successful and vibrant Southern Kings team of which they can be proud performing in the Guinness Pro14,” he said.

“Calls for boycotts do nothing other than further damage the reputation of the rugby people of Port Elizabeth in the eyes of South Africa and the wider rugby audience.

“The trouble in which the region currently finds itself was several years in the making and it will take several more months to complete the process of putting it back on its feet.

“We would appeal to the rugby community of the Eastern Cape to hasten that process by getting behind the team and allowing the steps that have been put in place to play themselves out.”

EP Rugby Union president Andre Rademan, who was not at the meeting, said he had seen the RTC statement and would make a full statement at a later stage.

“I have taken note of the RTC statement. The EP Rugby Union executive is in very sensitive negotiations with SA Rugby. Our clubs and players are suffering because of financial constraints,” Rademan said.

“As soon as our negotiations with SA Rugby are finalised, the executive committee of the EPRU will make a statement.”

RTC’s spokesman in the Eastern Cape, Qondakele Sompondo, said their call was based on the fact that SA Rugby was in breach of its own constitution by continuing to run the affairs of the union, thereby creating two centres of power in one province.

“The call to our clubs and the greater Eastern Cape community to boycott the Southern Kings matches was considered as the last option,” Sompondo said.

“However, we found ourselves without an option because a democratically elected executive is now being undermined and not allowed to run its affairs. We cannot allow that in our rugby.

“In 2015, in an agreement with the previous executive, SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux set up a temporary structure under the control of ex-EPRU chief executive Charl Crous to manage the affairs of the Southern Kings franchise on a temporary basis until a new executive was elected.

“However, when a new executive took office, the mandate of this temporary structure was unilaterally extended to include all of professional rugby in the province.

“SA Rugby is in breach of its very own constitution by continuing to run professional rugby and affairs of EPRU.

“They took away the voting rights of a democratically elected executive; placed them under illegal administration; and made them in charge of amateur rugby, while they run professional rugby.

“Saru is not only undermining this executive but our clubs because they have ignored the resolution taken by the EPRU clubs in their last union meeting, asking them to hand over the control of the union to the new executive.”

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