Western Province rugby union failed test, says Saru

CAPE TOWN – SA Rugby President Mark Alexander has said it was “the last resort” to put the Western Province Rugby Football Union under administration after months of unsuccessful negotiations.

A joint oversight committee between WPRFU and SA Rugby had to be dissolved after a few weeks, and the sport’s governing body in the country felt it could “no longer stand idly by” and watch how the institution of Cape Town rugby continued to be prosecuted. by failed trade deals and power struggles in the boardroom.

At the SA Rugby executive board meeting on Monday, they invoked their constitutional authority to appoint former general manager Rian Oberholzer as the administrator of the WPRFU (union), who will also be responsible for overseeing the operational affairs of WP (Pty) Ltd (board of directors), which manages the professional player teams of the Stormers and Western Province.

Article 29 of the constitution of the South African Rugby Union states that all federations shall “conduct their affairs in such a way that they are at all times in a sound financial condition, comply with the laws of the Republic. and adhere to the requirements of good governance, ”Alexander said on Tuesday.

“In Exco’s opinion, WPRFU failed this test and we can no longer distribute SA Rugby’s income knowing this. On that basis, we made this decision with a heavy heart.

“We spoke with WPRFU for several months about the challenges the organization was facing and tried to help them find solutions.

“This is the last resort, but it had become evident that the union leadership was unable to take action to regularize its position.

“Several Union stakeholders have contacted our offices to express their dismay, and we are aware of the public alarm.”

Over the past year, the conflict between the union and the board has been at the heart of the problem, with union president Zelt Marais and board chairman Ebrahim Rasool at odds on governance issues, various possible equity agreements and board policy.

Marais has been looking for a capital partner for a few years, but agreements with various companies and entities such as Remgro, Investec, MVM, Flyt and Staytus have not been successful.

The Staytus deal, recommended by the joint SA Rugby-WP committee, would see Flyt return title to the union and end all claims for damages, along with a payment of up to R200 million.

Internal fighting has led to the suspension or resignation of almost the entire WPRFU executive in recent months, with only Marais, Vice President Moneeb Levy and Nadeema Khan remaining until yesterday’s action. by SA Rugby.

Marais said in a statement Tuesday that SA Rugby’s intervention was “not ideal”, but “now is not the time to discuss it on the merits.”

He pledged that the WPRFU would give its full support to Oberholzer and SA Rugby.

“As WP Rugby, we will cooperate with the designated administrator to the extent that they ask us to provide them with the information and support necessary to fulfill the mandate given to them by SARU as soon as possible,” said Swamp.

“Our clubs remain the guardians of rugby at WP Rugby. Ultimately, it will be the clubs that will decide a future course of action at WP Rugby once SARU completes the processes it engages in.

“I particularly call on our sponsors, suppliers, supporters, officials, staff, players, coaches and clubs not to despair. We’ve all been through rough times, especially over the past couple of years, but with your support, the continued resilience you have shown during those trying times will significantly contribute to the turnaround that is inevitable at WP Rugby.

“We are known to never throw in the towel, and I want to encourage all of you to stay positive in the belief that our glory days will return.”

Rasool issued a statement welcoming the actions taken by SA Rugby.

“This move is unfortunate as there were enough opportunities to resolve the financial issues at the heart of WP Rugby, but instead the situation was settled through the abyss,” said Rasool.

“The majority of WPPR administrators were painfully aware that our fiduciary responsibility led us to exercise the Business Rescue option, which we should have decided on Friday, October 15, 2021.

“SARU’s intervention comes as a justification for these directors, as well as the exco members, who have chosen to speak out and not to tolerate the evil they have seen.

“While I gladly don’t have any official position in WPPR, I would like Mr. Rian Oberholzer to benefit from our collective knowledge of what went wrong in WP Rugby: to assess the pitfalls and dangers of potential deals.” where due diligence was rare and conflicts of interest possible; and think about how to modernize WP Rugby with the right kind of funding partners aligned with our rugby traditions. “

SA Rugby said Oberholzer would not speak to the media about his role as administrator, with Alexander adding that the decision would “have no direct bearing” on the Stormers, who are currently touring for the United Rugby Championship in Europe and playing against the Dragons on Friday (8:35 p.m. Kick-off SA) in Newport, Wales.

Cape Town Hours

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