‘Big guns’ to help fix EP Rugby


List of experienced advisers secretly canvassed

A powerful council of special advisers is set to be formed if a vote of no confidence in EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson and his executive succeeds at a meeting tomorrow.

After several delays, a general meeting of EP Rugby Union clubs will be held at the Eastcape Training Centre and several issues about the cash strapped union will be discussed.

Depending on what transpires, SA Rugby-appointed administrator Monde Tabata may decide to appoint a council of advisers to work with.

Watson has not commented on recent developments at EP Rugby and has referred all queries to SA Rugby.

Tabata said: “I would not like to speak of the EP situation at this stage.

It is a work-in-progress and there are many challenges to make sense of.

“Besides, due to the nature of how the EP situation has evolved, it is important to observe some of the organisational protocols.

“For example, there are a number of interested parties, no less the clubs, that still want me to explain what is involved in their union and how it can be fixed and whether it will be fixed at all.

“It would therefore be wrong for me to share my insights with you before I have taken them into confidence.”

“Difficult as it looks, we must find a way to put it in fine shape so that the union members can have their entity back,” Tabata said.

A list of potential people who are said to have been secretly canvassed to serve on an EP Rugby task team include Willem Oliphant, Garth Wright, Bantwini Matika, Trevor Jennings, Willie Blundin, Makhaya Jack and Thando Manana.

Items on the agenda for tomorrow include the appointment of auditors, financials for the PTY (for information) and the union (for adoption) and a vote of no confidence on the current executive committee last month, SA Rugby bosses were accused of attempting to protect the EP executive after a general meeting was called off at the last minute.

A vote of no confidence in Watson and his executive had been on the agenda, but the meeting was postponed because SA Rugby executive member Francois Davids was sick.

The decision to postpone the meeting angered the East Cape representative of the Rugby Transformation Coalition, Qondakele Sompondo.

“Now that the meeting is finally on, we are confident of success in the no confidence vote,” Sompondo said. “We are putting together a task team from very experienced local rugby leaders.

“The clubs are looking forward to Saturday as we will finally get Cheeky Watson and his executive to account for liquidating our province.”

“It cannot be that we will just accept that a debt of R50-million was accrued without any accountability.

“We will weigh up our options about trying to recover that from directors and executives who presided over what we view as a serious case of reckless trading.

“Then we can look at possible candidates around us who can work closely with SA Rugby in helping us rebuild our once mighty province.”

The main grievances clubs have against the union are:

  • Presenting questionable financial statements;
  • Lack of accountability;
  • The current financial crisis at the EP Kings;
  • A Rugby SA takeover of the Southern Kings;
  • Messing up club rugby competition structures; and
  • Sponsorship bungles.

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