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SARU and SAREO face crucial call after arbitration award favours the Players

NEWS: The South African Rugby Football Union and SAREO face a dilemma, after the arbitration verdict significantly favoured the players’ union, MyPlayers.


The arbitrator ruled that #ALL provincial players must rest for an uninterrupted eight-week period once every 12 months.

Not only does the ruling apply to all players, it must happen at the same time.

Mandisi Tshonti, the GM: Player Affairs Myplayers, told @rugby365com that they are “very happy” with the outcome.

* To read SARU’s reaction to this ruling, CLICK HERE!

However, he was at pains to stress that the Currie Cup competition – scheduled to take place from July to the end of September – can go ahead.

In recent years July and August were reserved as the annual rest period for all the provincial players.

MyPlayers quotes - arbitration victory 3

The key is that if SARU goes ahead with the Currie Cup in the current slot, the national body and SAREO must then find an alternative ‘two-month rest period’ for the players.


That could impact the start of the next United Rugby Championship season – scheduled to get underway on September 20.

The dispute came after SARU decided to move the Currie Cup – which had overlapped with the URC for the last couple of years – to a new window between July and September.

There were settlement talks that would have allowed SAREO to ‘rest’ players on an individual basis.

However, in a dramatic about-turn, SAREO insisted on the inclusion of a provision that would allow players to play for up to 20 months without a break.


This resulted in the stand-off and an arbitration hearing that concluded on May 9.

The result was delivered on Monday, and strongly favoured MyPlayers, handing the national body a dilemma.

MyPlayers quotes - arbitration victory

“The ruling confirmed that the rest period for the players must be all at the same time,” Tshonti told @rugby365com, adding that the eight-week break must happen once a year.

“It is a very positive outcome of the arbitration process.

“It clarifies the crucial principles of what we have always relayed to the employers [franchises and provinces] – it is extremely challenging to provide that rest period if the Currie Cup is played in the middle of that [traditional] rest period.

“This provides a clear start and end to the season.”

The two-month break allows the players to re-energise physically and mentally.

The ruling also means that in all likelihood SARU will have to revisit the decision to move the Currie Cup to the July-September window.

For now, SARU and SAREO must make a call on when they want to apply the eight-week rest period.

“We are not going to be prescriptive about [the timing of] that rest period,” Tshonti said.


SARU and SAREO face crucial call after arbitration award favours the Players

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