JOHANNESBURG – The Lions Rugby Company have terminated the contracts of several players following discussions between them and the South African Rugby Players Association.
It is not yet known how many players’ contracts have come to an end, and whether they are senior or junior players.
The Lions announced on Friday that due to changes in the rugby industry – to reduce the number of professional players in the country in future – they’d been “involuntarily required to offer mutual severance packages to contracted players.”
The Lions furthermore said they’d been in communication with Sarpa, Sareo and the CEOs of the other franchises to determine the best way forward following changes in the competition structures, the rugby landscape and the increasing financial pressure placed on unions.
According to the statement released by the Lions on Friday, they had engaged with various players to conclude “a mutual separation and exiting agreement”.
General Manager of player affairs at Sarpa, Mandisi Tshonti said the decision to terminate the contracts of the players was in the best interests of the players and the union.
“With unions experiencing on-going stress determined by factors in the industry, we can expect more of these processes to follow in future,” said Tshonti.
“As representatives of the players we were informed of planned consultations with the players. From past experiences we have seen that if the process is followed correctly it will be beneficial for both parties but we will nonetheless stay close to the process and advise the players.”
Bart Schoeman, the high performance manager at the Lions, said: “The industry changes had forced a change in strategic planning. Processes have been forced to ensure sustainability and succession plans within the franchise.”