Interim Blue Bulls Rugby Union president Willem Strauss.
Interim Blue Bulls Rugby Union president Willem Strauss.

Strauss to play Mr Fix-It to get Blue Bulls back in black

By Vata Ngobeni Time of article published Mar 23, 2018

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INTERIM Blue Bulls Rugby Union president Willem Strauss will hit the ground running in a bid to help alleviate the ailing Blue Bulls Company's financial woes.

The 51-year-old Strauss was elected to the hot seat unopposed after the sudden resignation of Gert Wessels after allegations of financial mismanagement were levelled against him for unauthorised loans to the Blue Bulls Company.

On Monday, Wessels stepped down from the position of president, which he held concurrently with that of being chairperson of the BBC board of directors, forcing the union to quickly look to elect his replacement within two weeks.

A long-time administrator, former agent and promoter, Strauss will have to quickly familiarise himself with the workings of the Bulls and, along with members of the board of directors of the Blue Bulls Company, will need to urgently map out a blueprint to put the franchise on a good financial footing.

Strauss is no stranger to saving ill-fated rugby unions, having served as chief executive of the Mpumalanga Rugby Union in 1991, elevating them from being among the basement dwellers of domestic rugby to being one of the top sides in the country by the time of his departure in 1999.

“I will be having meetings with the Blue Bulls Company and then I will get my ducks in a row before I comment further,” Strauss said yesterday. The Free State-educated Strauss has also been instrumental in the growth of Sevens rugby throughout the country.

He has established a schools tournament that attracted more than a thousand schools and is currently the president of Harlequins Police who ply their trade in the Carlton League.

Having also been marketing manager of the then Northern Bulls during the days of the Super 12 competition, Strauss’s ability to conclude major sponsorships deals and other rugby events will be of great help to a Bulls franchise that is struggling to attract sponsors and spectators alike.

Strauss, though, has asked for time to get to know the union and the Blue Bulls Company while reiterating the need for all stakeholders to work together for the benefit of professional and amateur rugby at Loftus Versfeld.

“It is a huge privilege and a massive challenge. But like rugby is a team sport played between the four lines, I believe that this will need a team on an administrative level and I have a good team around me. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

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