Ackermann stands firm in Mostert dispute
REACTION: Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann is confident he will have Springbok lock Franco Mostert in his camp early next month.
The tug-of-war between Gloucester and Ackermann’s former employers, the Golden Lions Company, escalated dramatically on Wednesday when Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli stated that Mostert was going nowhere.
Ackermann, as much as he denies it, is at the centre of the dispute that is not making him very popular at the Lions’ Johannesburg-based headquarters, Ellis Park.
Ackermann told a media briefing on Wednesday that he expects Mostert to arrive in Gloucester on November 1.
This follows after Straeuli told the Johannesburg-based Citizen newspaper that they are standing firm on their view that Mostert’s contract with Gloucester is illegal.
“I’m not going to get involved in the dispute side,” Ackermann, who joined Gloucester from the Lions in 2017, told a media briefing.
“All I can say is we’ve got the contract and our expectation is for Franco to be here on November 1 and then we’ll take it from there.”
The Springboks will undertake a four-Test tour of Europe next month.
If his contract with Gloucester is binding, he will not be allowed to play against England November 3 – a match that is outside the Test window – as Premiership clubs don’t allow the release of non-English internationals outside this window.
“It’s up to us as contract holders to decide that and what the regulation is among the Premiership clubs, but at the moment we feel he’ll join us then,” said Ackermann.
“With the Rugby Championship games and the incoming internationals, we didn’t plan to have him here soon – so it doesn’t really affect us at the moment.”
The Lions are equally pertinacious in their belief that there are ‘irregularities’ with the contract and said it was negotiated by an agent who has been suspended for three years.
They have laid a complaint against Gloucester.
“Franco is still contracted by us and we are still in the middle of a dispute with Gloucester,” the Lions CEO, Straeuli, told the Citizen.
“He must honour his contract, with all respect to Franco, but my board told me I must act against Gloucester.
“His agent had been suspended for three years and it has happened before with [French club] Lyon in France, and the second time we said ‘no’.”
Ackermann is already unpopular at Ellis Park, after luring a number of former Lions to England – including prop Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Kriel and Ruan Ackermann.
* Additional reporting by Gloucestershire Live