Cheetahs thinking 'outside the box'
SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs plan to make a BIG announcement within the next three weeks.
Following their axing from the Pro14 (and the European competition’s expanded version), the Bloemfontein-based franchise has been ‘hard at work’ to find alternative options.
In a statement the Free State Cheetahs said the franchise’s management – over the past few weeks – had some “constructive meetings” with SA Rugby and promising negotiations with its sponsors and potential investors.
“We should, within the next three weeks, be in a position to announce what the future holds for the union, the franchise and the team,” a statement said.
“SARU’s decision to oust the Cheetahs from the Pro16 competition and the disruption caused by COVID-19, have compelled the Cheetahs management to refocus, think outside the box and rebuild traditional rugby models.
“If everything pans out the right way, it will take the Cheetahs on a new, exciting path.
“We are acutely aware that our supporters are getting frustrated and want to know what the future holds, but we ask them to be patient and trust us to take decisions that are in the best interest of our beloved Cheetahs.
“Such negotiations always take longer than most expect as they involve several parties and need attention to detail.
Earlier the Cheetahs revealed they were engaged in ‘high-level talks’ with SA Rugby, broadcasters, sponsors, other franchises and stakeholders to ensure the Cheetahs remain a ‘valuable, viable and competitive franchise’ in South Africa and world rugby in general.
“While the Cheetahs reaffirm their entrenched rights in Pro14 and an expanded Pro16, they have actively pursued other opportunities after the SARU general council decision on September 29 to include only the Bulls, Stormers, Lions and Sharks in Pro16.
“As rugby reorganises and reinvents itself after the COVID-19 impact, new permutations and opportunities arise.
“The Board continues to explore possibilities in the interest of the Cheetahs, players, staff, supporters, sponsors and other stakeholders.”