Rasool fires back after Zelt's 'war room' flop
RUGGED RIPOSTE: The protracted Western Province Rugby Football Union boardroom battles took another intriguing twist at the weekend, with the escalation of the verbal stoushing between two leading officials.
Ebrahim Rasool, Chairman of the board of WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd, said the next 10 days are “absolutely crucial” for the survival of the game in the Western Cape.
Rasool, in a five-page letter, fired some powerful salvos in the direction of WPRFU President Zelt Marais.
The former Premier of the Western Cape and an ambassador accused Marais of “unilaterally” creating a structure – or War Room as Marais called it – that bypasses formal pre-existing structures in the WPRFU.
Rasool also accused Marais of “megalomania” and having centralized all power in his person – as President of WPRFU, board member of WPPR, acting CEO of WPRFU, head of the finance committee and now leader of a War Room.
“[He is] nullifying the established structures of WPRFU and shielded [himself] from oversight,” Rasool said.
The powerful counterpunch came a day after Marais’ failed bid to launch his ‘war room‘ strategy at Newlands.
The under-fire WPRFU President, Marais, revealed the last-ditch, desperate bid to stave off being placed under administration by the South African Rugby Union at a council meeting this past Thursday – when he put his ‘War Room’ plans on the table.
Among the actions in Marais’ master plan was to set up the ‘War Room’ environment, that will “operate until all critical short term matters are addressed and resolved satisfactorily” and an effective longer-term strategic framework is in place and moving forward.
However, the launch on Friday did not quite go according to plan.
Two people listed as part of Marais’ grandiose plan told @rugby365com that the first time they learnt of their involvement was when they read about it in the media.
At least one other potential ‘war room’ member confirmed he had already ‘resigned‘ and did not even attend Friday’s gathering.
Reports from the sparsely populated gathering said some of those in attendance wanted the meeting called off because not everybody on the list was present.
Marais, in response to a request for comment from @rugby365com, said “the inaugural meeting went well” and adding that “everyone is excited in the contributions they are going to make”.
He added that of the 20 names on the list circulated at last Thursday’s council meeting, 14 attended, three apologised and three did not attend.
The latest developments also come on the eve of the ‘vote of no confidence’ hearing that Marais will face on Monday.
Rasool said he felt now is the right time to place his response on record and avoid the risk of being spoken for by third parties – something that might result in inadvertent miscommunication.
“As chairperson of the board of Western Province Professional Rugby, I feel it is my duty to address the ultimate shareholders, being the clubs, and provide them with a report on all the work done by the board to date,” Rasool said.
“[I must] inform them of progress and solutions that the board had proposed to the myriad of challenges facing WP Rugby, unpack the gravity of the dire situation we all face, and present the plan put forward to overcome the challenges.”
He added that if the board can get a mandate from the clubs of the WPRFU, then they can attempt to salvage the settlement with Flyt and get the union’s properties back.
“We can [also] persuade the sponsors to continue sponsoring us,” he added.
* Read Rasool’s letter, in full, below!
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