I received this in my inbox and thought it would be worthwhile to publish it, word for word, given the criticism WP Rugby has been under in recent months.
The following letter serves to put various matters relating to the Western Province Football Union in perspective. It is factual and is written to ultimately reassure all WP Rugby fans, players, sponsors and administrators that rugby within Western Province is alive and well. We will be sending these facts to you on a regular basis.
The reality is that the WPRFU is in excellent shape, youth rugby is improving and growing, clubs are getting more exposure and the professional teams are doing well. Solid structures are in place to ensure sustainability and new player registrations have increased dramatically. The WPRFU players and families are enjoying their Saturday afternoon rugby more than ever.
The success of the WPRFU must not be measured only by the amount of silverware in the cupboard. In South Africa it would be more prudent to also look at other matters such as social development, transformation, capacity building and empowerment at grass roots level.
The Western Province Rugby Football Union is governed by an eleven member executive council and the CEO of the WPRFU. This council is elected biennially by the 90 clubs which make up the constituents of the WPRFU union. This executive council is made up of well seasoned, highly qualified professionals who understand the history and dynamics of rugby in Western Province.
The WPRFU executive council meets formally on a regular basis and is chaired by the president of the WPRFU.
To give further clarity to this structure it is important to note that the WPRFU has two arms, the one being the amateur arm and the other the professional arm. The professional arm is a division of WPRFU and is defined as WP Rugby (Pty.ltd). This is a separate company of which the WPRFU is a 75% shareholder.
The WP Rugby (Pty.ltd) is responsible for the contracting and administration of the professional players and the commercialisation of the game. This company generates the revenue for the WPRFU, which in turn is used to grow the game.
The WPRFU has developed a state of the art high performance centre, (HPC) where the professional teams (The Stormers, The Currie Cup, The Vodacom Cup and U21 teams) are based and practice. Additionally the WPRFU has a WP Rugby Institute based in Stellenbosch, yet another world class state of the art facility which houses 50 under 19 players. These players are contracted and nurtured to be ready to move into the next rank within the WP professional arm.
The WPRFU Executive will always bear in mind the best interest of its member base when making decisions. Foremost on this list is the transformation, development and empowerment of the clubs and other amateur structures. When dealing with matters relating to the professional arm the WPRFU as the majority shareholder, of WP Rugby (pty.ltd) once again will make decisions with their member’s best interest at heart.
Some might think the WPRFU is made up of twenty two players you see on the field at Newlands on a Saturday. Nothing could be further from the truth. The WPRFU is comprised of almost 35 000 players, from the senior and youth levels. The vast majority of these players come from previously disadvantaged areas, and many of these clubs, players or youth have had very little opportunity, considering the history of South Africa. The WPRFU is constantly trying to ensure that rugby in the WP is unified and that WP Rugby brand is accessible to all.
Further to the priorities of the WPRFU is the process of talent identification. These structures are in place to seek out talented players within the club structures.
The WPRFU regularly donates equipment in the form of balls, tackle bags, shields, lights, first aid equipment, clothing and several other essentials to the clubs.
The WPRFU has rolled out an entirely new media and sponsorship support process for the amateur sector. This now facilitates amateur rugby media exposure, capacity building and educational programmes relating to the development, transformation and empowerment of amateur rugby clubs and youth rugby.
The WPRFU now has an alliance with a local community TV station, Cape Town TV, which airs the Cape Rugby TV show. This TV show has created exposure and opportunities for the amateur levels and has become one of the biggest rugby shows in South Africa. Clubs now have the ability to offer their sponsors media exposure. Sponsorship in the club rugby playing arena is critical to the process of transformation. Additionally many who have not seen the professional arm in action due to broadcasting restrictions are now exposed to the WP Professional team.
Western Province rugby has improved year on year on several levels; this is evident when looking at the increase in sponsorships, player registrations and stadium attendance at Newlands. The latest data based on the national SAARF data surveys, shows an increase in attendance, participation and interest.
Look out for the next in our series of chronicles detailing the workings and facts of WP Rugby. These will include information on youth rugby, talent identification and more.
Western Province Rugby Footbal Union
My Passion My Game