The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has established an investigation into a suspected breach of SARU’s Vodacom Super Rugby participation agreement by the Southern Kings.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, contacted Cheeky Watson, the chairman of the Kings board, on Tuesday to advise him of the inquiry and also to caution him against any potential breaches.
The matter was discussed by an emergency teleconference of the Executive Council (Exco) of SARU on Tuesday. The Exco, in accordance with the SARU Disciplinary and Judicial Regulations, decided to appoint a judicial sub-committee to investigate the allegation.
In the event of a breach being proved there are a wide range of sanctions available, starting from a caution to a maximum fine of R1m or a recommendation to the General Council to suspend or expel the offending organisation.
Eastern Province Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, today confirmed that he was contacted telephonically by the leadership of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in connection with the issue of foreign players that were fielded during the game against the Chiefs on 18 March 2013.
“I have received a call from SA Rugby, and while there is a difference of opinion relating to the definition of foreign players, it is my duty to submit to the guidance of the governing body of SARU,” he said.
Elaborating on the issue of the definition of foreign players, Watson said, “In the process leading up to the signing of foreign players last year, we were led to believe and even encouraged to sign Argentinean players – who currently participate in the Vodacom Cup as Pampas – with the understanding that they would not be considered as foreign players, in the same way as Daniel Adongo, who is from Kenya, is not considered a foreign player.”
“That being said, the sanctions which are being considered against the Southern Kings, as per the statement issued by SARU, have been clearly conveyed to me,” he said.
Watson said that in light of this, the decision has been made to submit to SARU’s guidance on the matter.
“I am on record as having clearly stated that our treatment and entrance into Super Rugby, and the entire process to date, has disadvantaged us tremendously,” said Watson.
“However, no-one can dispute the fact that we are the first of the Super Rugby franchises added to the competition to have won our first game. We have also had a record of over 100,000 spectators through the gates of Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in our first three home games,” he said. (See: Super Rugby Attendance Figures)
“We have proven in the last three games that we have played, by the attendance and the support of the spectators that we will fight and we will show our true colours as our emblem emblazons, the spear and the shield,” he said.
“As Winston Churchill once said “We shall never surrender.”