REPORT: No pay for Kings players
SPOTLIGHT: The Southern Kings players have not received their salaries for the month of April.
With the COVID-19 coronavirus halted all form of rugby, the salary and job cuts were an inevitable occurrence accompanied by the global pandemic.
SA Rugby along with stakeholders formed a wide-ranging plan to cut between ZAR700-million to ZAR1-billion from the budget over the next eight months in efforts to minimise the impact.
However, getting an early taste of this financial struggle that awaits rugby is the Southern Kings players.
The Pro14 franchise’s players are scheduled to get paid on the 25th of every month, however, it has been reported that the players are still waiting on their monthly income.
It is believed that instead of payments, the Kings chairman Loyiso Dotwana wrote a letter last week promising players that they will be paid on April 30.
According to numerous South African media outlets, Dotwana blamed the wages delay on Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, who he said failed to process the money in time.
However, it has been three days since the written letter and players have yet to receive any form of remuneration, the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported on Sunday.
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Kings managing director Leigh Heard, according to Rapport, took to WhatsApp to communicate with the players. She reportedly stated that players will be compensated but cannot promise that April payroll will run as per normal.
In her WhatsApp communications she wrote, “I have no words for you.
“Therefore, I asked Loyiso and Rory Stear [Kings deputy chairman] to schedule a zoom meeting,”
Meanwhile, Rapport revealed that Kings Director of Rugby and interim coach Robbi Kempson assured the players that action will be taken on Monday, May 4.
“We guarantee to take action on Monday,” Kempton wrote via Whatsapp.
“I request that you please make suitable arrangement until then. We understand your frustrations as we found ourselves in the same boat.
He added: “Please do not shoot the messenger,”
It is a well-documented fact that all franchises in South Africa are feeling the financial pinch and reports of unions facing cash-flow problems are common however with the Kings it is always amplified.
SA Rugby bailed out the Southern Kings with close to ZAR100-million during their second Super Rugby stint in 2016 and 2017.
While in 2019 SA Rugby revealed that a ZAR45-million buyout deal was concluded in December. SA Rugby sold 74 percent shareholding in SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the Southern Kings’ holding company, to current owners called The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC).
Source: Netwerk24 & Rapport.