Mandela Bay Rugby: Another failed venture?
Tony McKeever, a man with a history of failed ventures in the game, is said to be the 'mastermind' behind Mandela Bay Rugby.
The organisation placed online advertisements at the weekend – for positions in Port Elizabeth.
Reports suggested that McKeever has been courting the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for funds.
However, the NMBM denied being involved.
"The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has no knowledge of MBR's existence and as such, has no record of any dealings with the said association," NMBM mayoral spokesperson Sibongile Dimbaza told rugby365.
"We have not, in any way, provided support to this organisation."
The advertisements placed at the weekend claim that Mandela Bay Rugby is 'the custodian of all the commercial properties and professional teams of Eastern Province rugby'.
However, that is a statement the South African Rugby Union may contest, considering that there is no record of any affiliation to SARU or the Eastern Province Rugby Union.
The advertisements also claim that Mandela Bay Rugby has 'seven' teams in its stable, but there is also no record of McKeever's organisation paying or preparing any teams in Eastern Province.
The positions advertised by Mandela Bay Rugby include a WebMaster, Marketing & Sponsorship Manager & Interns, Communications & PR Managers and Sales, Account & Marketing Managers.
Some of the positions are only on contract.
However, the most significant footnote is that some positions will require the applicants to be in the office for around eight hours a day – 'depending on the status of Mandela Bay Rugby'.
The latter part suggests that there is no guarantee that McKeever's latest venture will indeed get off the ground.
McKeever was the CEO of the Southern Spears, which folded before playing a game – following his well-documented stand-off with SARU in court. The national body eventually decided to buy back the rights from the shareholders – Eastern Province, Border and South Western Districts – to plug the hole that was leaking millions of Rands.
McKeever is currently also listed as both CEO and a Director of 'Super 20 Rugby World Series' – a venture that has failed to produce a single match or register a single player since it was launched in 2006.
Then there is his role in introducing PRO Rugby (United States) owner Douglas Schoninger to SARU President Mark Alexander, with the view that PRO Rugby would invest in the Eastern Province and Southern Kings teams. However, other than a couple of informal meetings between Schoninger and Alexander in London, nothing came of this 'proposal' either.
In fact, Schoninger is fighting his own battles to keep his league, PRO Rugby, afloat in the United States.
Although Mandela Bay Rugby has a website, it has no information or details – other than a link to 'register' as a player or a fan.
Attempts to contact the organisation, Mandela Bay Rugby, proved fruitless.
By Jan de Koning