Row over rugby quotas

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Saru President Oregan Hoskins. Photo: Carl Fourie

Port Elizabeth - Civil rights organisation AfriForum says it intends to lay a complaint with the International Rugby Board (IRB) about the comments made by South African Rugby Union (Saru) president Oregan Hoskinson Monday that “black players, specifically ‘African blacks’ should be given more chances” in the Springbok team.

Hoskins was quoted on Monday as saying that he had received the go-ahead from the Saru executive committee to speak to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer about the situation, and said that Meyer had agreed that the time was right to provide more playing opportunities for black African players.

But Hoskins, who is the vice-chairman of the IRB as well, hit back at AfriForum on Monday, telling Independent Newspapers: “They (AfriForum) have been writing to the IRB for a long time, this is not the first time they are doing it. I’m not going to react to them.

“I have been speaking to everybody and I have been consistent. The TV stations and everybody has been phoning me to get further comments and find out what the deeper meaning is. And if there is a quota system in place, and is the coach’s job in the balance?

“How many blacks in the team? Is Lwazi (Mvovo) playing, is (Oupa) Mohoje playing, Siya Kolisi? There have been a thousand questions, but the answer is that I am not discussing it further. It’s very clear what I have said.”

The Cape Times understands that the Saru Exco gave Hoskins the mandate to address the issue with Meyer following their meeting with the SA Olympic Committee (Sascoc) in Johannesburg last week, where Saru’s performance as a federation was examined, including their transformation agenda.

Sascoc said that Saru had “made positive strides all round” as an organisation, and that “contrary to popular perception that Saru has no transformation plans and no transformation process”, chief executive Tubby Reddy said: “We received figures to substantiate Saru’s transformation agenda and achievements thus far as well as their footprint around the country. They are clearly focused on creating opportunities for all the people of our country.

“However, we noted that there is still a lack of transformation in the Springbok team hence the perception that Saru isn’t transformed or has no intention to transform. It’s clear that over the last 20 years in a democratic Saru and in all sport in general, we have not sufficiently addressed the implementation process, to realise the transformation agenda.”

Sascoc stated that Saru would be judged by the milestones set in their transformation implementation plans up to and including 2020, but Hoskins did not want to reveal those plans.

Sapa reported that AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said IRB rules prohibited racial discrimination and political interference in rugby.

“Saru’s instruction to the Springbok coach is a crude form of racial discrimination and an indication that Saru has surrendered to the quota threats of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula,” Kriel said.

AfriForum’ would look into the possibility of opening a case with the International Court for Arbitration in Sport.

Cape Times


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