SARU reins in WPRFU's rebellious clubs
NEWLANDS UPDATE: The South African Rugby Union has baulked at ‘requests’ from a growing number of clubs to terminate the administration of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
In October last year, SARU invoked Clause 29 of its constitution and took ‘administrative control’ control of WPRFU.
However, the slow pace of progress, including the sale of the Newlands Stadium and its precinct properties, has made a group of clubs restless.
While the various factions in the union – there are four clearly distinguishable blocks – still can’t agree on much, more and more questions are being asked of SARU.
One such faction, headlined by General Council member Alie Ras, has raised the possibility of a potential ‘conflict of interest” of the SARU-appointed administrator Rian Oberholzer.
Ras first raised the matter in a letter to SARU mid-July and recently reiterated his concerns in discussions with @rugby365com.
His main concerns centre around the ‘due-diligence process’ followed by SARU, updated financial statements provided to the clubs, the Heritage site application of former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen and the sale of properties bonded to the Flyt/Dreamworld group.
A group of clubs held a meeting earlier this month and several forwarded letters to SARU requesting the “termination of the administration” of the union.
However, SARU is not about to buckle under pressure.
In a strongly-worded letter, SARU President Mark Alexander warned the clubs that they have no decision-making powers.
“SARU will not seek to prevent the WPRFU members/clubs from meeting with each other,” Alexander said, adding: “Nor will it seek to dictate the agenda or discussion points at such meetings.”
However, the national body is determined not to allow the clubs to undermine or negate the “positive work” being done by the administrator.
SARU believes Oberholzer has done a good job so far of “restoring financial and operational stability” in the union.
Alexander said they wouldn’t allow the clubs to “usurp the authority” of the administrator, who is a SARU appointee.
“The WPRFU members ought to be aware that SARU will not be bound by any of the conclusions reached at such meeting/s and SARU will continue to pursue a plan that is to the general benefit of all stakeholders and the rugby community at large,” Alexander said.
SARU said it will continue to provide the clubs with feedback and information regarding WPRFU’s affairs.
“Whilst SARU will not restrict itself as to what it shall report upon at any given time, it is understood that the WPRFU members are most eager to hear of developments concerning the property transaction, any Equity share transaction and the move to the Cape Town Stadium,” Alexander said in his letter, adding: “SARU will endeavour to report on these matters when it is appropriate to do so.”
* See Mark Alexander’s letter in full below!
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