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WP Rugby – Dam wall breaks, SA Rugby invoke clause 29 and put WP Rugby under administration


It has been coming for a while now and finally SA Rugby has said enough is enough as they invoked their constitutional power to take administrative control of the Union.

This decision was made on Monday by the EXCO of the South African Rugby Union. Former SA Rugby CEO, Rian Oberholzer has been appointed as an administrator and will assume oversight of the unions affairs with immediate effect.

This includes supervision of the operational affairs of WP (PTY) Ltd, which manage the professional playing teams of DHL Stormers and Western Province.

The president of WP Rugby, Mr Zelt Marais, was informed of the decision on Tuesday morning.

SA Rugby president, Mr Mark Alexander, said this decision was not taken lightly.

“We had engaged with the WPRFU over a number of months on the challenges the organisation faced and tried to assist them in finding solutions,” said Mr Alexander.

“We attempted to partner in a joint oversight committee but were frustrated in our attempts to receive accurate information and engage constructively.

“However, the Union has regressed in its attempts to extricate itself from those challenges and we could no longer stand by.

“This is very much the last resort, but it had become apparent that the Union’s leadership was incapable of putting in place the actions to regularize its position.

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

“Clause 29 of the constitution of the South African Rugby Union charges that all unions have to ‘conduct their business affairs in such a way that, at all times, they are in a sound financial position, comply with the laws of the Republic and adhere to the requirements of good governance’.

“It is Exco’s view that WPRFU has failed that test and we could no longer distribute SA Rugby income in that knowledge. On that basis we have taken this decision with a heavy heart.”

The power of clause 29 allow SA Rugby for the assumption of responsibility for the affairs of unions…[including] the suspension from office of their elected and/or appointed officials, and the appointment by SARU of administrators, who shall assume all decision-making powers of the unions at both governance and operational levels, and who shall have the authority to direct employees, including chief executive officers, on a day to day basis, such administrators to report and be accountable to and to take direction from the executive council.”

Mr Alexander also said that all stakeholders – the union’s commercial partners, broadcaster, coaching staff, players’ union and Vodacom United Rugby Championship partners – had been advised of the decision.

He assured supporters that the appointment of an administrator was to stabilise the Union’s governance and operational business and was not to have any direct influence on DHL Stormers affairs.

The clause 29 gives SA Rugby the authority to remain in administration until the Union’s affairs are stabilised. Mr Alexander also said there is no timeline set when this will be completed but they want to finish this process as soon as possible.

This was issued by SA Rugby Communications

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