Zelt asks SARU to 'engage' with WPRFU StratCom
REACTION: Zelt Marais is ready to step aside and allow the South African Rugby Union appointed administrator to take over the running of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
However, he has just one request for the national rugby body before experienced former SARU CEO Rian Oberholzer assumes oversight of the union’s affairs.
“The approach, progress, and status of the short term and strategic interventions underway, under the oversight of the general council, approved StratCom, should be understood and effectively leveraged to the advantage of WP Rugby,” Marais said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Marais’ statement was in response to the decision by SARU to place WPRFU under administration.
While the warning signs have been there for a couple of months, the bomb finally dropped on Tuesday – when SARU advised the WPRFU President, Marais, that it was invoking its constitutional power to take administrative control of the union.
He admitted the dramatic step of placing a union with such a rich history under administration is not ideal.
However, he felt it is important and in the interests of all stakeholders, that these processes get the full support of all involved in the game.
“As President of WP Rugby I have over a long period of time been engaged in discussions with the leadership of SARU around matters that have been impacting on our union,” Marais said in a statement.
“Now is not the time to debate the merits of the intervention by SARU.
“Rather, as WP Rugby we will cooperate with the appointed administrator to the extent that he would require us to furnish him with the information and support needed to meet the mandate given to him by SARU in the shortest possible time.”
The now-ousted WPRFU President said it is important that “other views” are seriously considered by SARU.
“Specifically, the views and parameters suggested by the independent non-executive board member, mandated to lead the commercialisation aspects of the WP Rugby should be taken into account,” he said of WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd board member Philip Burns – a ‘War Room’ advisor.
“The approach, progress, and status of the short term and strategic interventions underway, under the oversight of the General Council-approved StratCom, should be understood and effectively leveraged to the advantage of WP Rugby,” Marais added.
The part about Philip Burns and the War Room advisors were not included in the initial statement, sent out to the clubs.
It was, however, added in the statement sent to the media later – causing concern amongst club representatives that something Machiavellian was afoot.
The sceptics will still see something untoward in the decision to add another paragraph in the latter statement – although it was more of an ‘oversight’ in the initial release, rather than an attempt at deception.
“My appeal is to everyone who truly cares about WP Rugby and who believe that we remain a very important and influential member of SARU, to give the administrator their full support,” Marais said.
“I remain positive and have no intention of abandoning the vision that we had set for ourselves of making WP Rugby a global leader in Rugby.”
Also worth reading
‘Brinkmanship’ at the core of SARU takeover
The rise and fall of a ‘war room’
SA Rugby steps in to take over WPRFU
WPRFU must get rid of amateur attitude
Zelt: Why we baulked at Staytus deal
Zelt accused of ‘conspiratorial management’
Zelt suspends five dissenting voices
Tygerberg goes after Zelt dissenters
WPRFU court saga: It is a stalemate
SARU ultimatum has WPRFU scrambling
SARU pulls the plug on WPRFU