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Watson steps down

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Cheeky Watson has called it a day as president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU).

According to Netwerk24, Watson handed in his resignation at the EPRU headquarters in Port Elizabeth late on Tuesday afternoon.

This comes after SA Rugby announced on Monday that the administration of the EPRU was set to be returned to local hands following a series of ground-breaking decisions at a special general meeting in Port Elizabeth last Saturday.

The EPRU’s affairs had been placed into the administrative control of SA Rugby – at the union’s invitation – in April 2016 to help regularise the union’s affairs as it faced a number of financial challenges.

SA Rugby ensured the union’s playing commitments were fulfilled in conjunction and with the help of the liquidator.

Rugby’s national governing body continued to work in the background drafting a new pathway and plan for the administration of the EPRU.

A critical part of that plan was the adoption of a new constitution and executive structure – drafted by SA Rugby – which was passed last Saturday night. The new constitution and structure triggers new elections for office bearers which, once completed, pave the way for SA Rugby to withdraw its administrator and interim chairperson.

Under Watson as president, the EPRU plunged into a financial crisis in 2015, with the union unable to pay players’ salaries.

Watson had promised a R200m sponsorship for the Kings but this failed to materialise, with players forced to accept food vouchers following the non-payment of salaries.

SA Rugby was eventually forced to step in and take control of the union which was eventually liquidated.

The liquidation of EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the commercial arm of the EPRU – will continue in parallel. It is hoped that the process will now have a more positive outcome than was expected, clearing the way for a recapitalisation plan to move ahead with interested local parties.

A notice calling for nominations for the new executive and new office bearers will go out to member clubs shortly, SA Rugby said via a press statement on Monday.

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