SA Rugby denies ANCYL claims of Blitzbokke training camp with Israeli team
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Cape Town – The SA Rugby Union (SA Rugby) has refuted claims the Blitzbokke will be holding a training camp with the national sevens team of Israel.
On Monday, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Western Cape said it was disturbed by a planned upcoming rugby camp between the Blitzbokke and Israel, saying it was an unacceptable misuse of "our" sporting team.
The statement comes after reports the Israeli Sevens side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch in mid-December to train with the Blitzbokke.
According to the ANCYL, it was abusive for the Sevens team to host a country which South Africa had downgraded diplomatic relationships with, because of Israel's violation of international law and abuse of Palestinian human rights.
"It is also detrimental to South Africans because Israel is investing heavily in growing a group of Israeli apartheid supporters among a certain sector of society which is already struggling with transformation," said ANCYL provincial chairperson Khalid Sayed.
He said they would not only be raising concerns with the relevant bodies including the minister of sports, "but if needs be we will also, together with the people of the Western Cape, be embarking on strategic protest actions".
However, according to an SA Rugby spokesperson, this was not the case.
“The Springbok Sevens team are not having a camp with the national sevens team of Israel and reports on this are incorrect.
“Israel 7s organised a training camp with the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, which hosts various international squads of various sporting codes as part of their core business.
“That arrangement had nothing to do with the Springbok Sevens squad. The fact that SAS is also the base of the Springbok Sevens is purely coincidental.“
Sayed added it was the Blitzboks’ duty to treat Israel the way they wanted other nations to treat apartheid South Africa.
"Rugby has been trying to transform in recent years, and the sport has made fantastic strides which the ANCYL commends, however, this latest act of siding with an oppressive regime such as Israel is a step backward."
The ANCYL said South African rugby was at the receiving end of protests and boycotts due to the country's apartheid policies.
"Likewise, Israel's 7s rugby team will be at the receiving end of protests and boycotts if they enter the Western Cape and have a camp in Stellenbosch; this is not a threat but a promise that we as the ANCYL make."