WADA BAN: Flag or no flag, Boks ready to fight to the bitter end for their country
REACTION: The possibility of a potential flag and anthem ban continues to hang over the Springboks like a dark cloud, as they start their build-up to the World Cup quarterfinal face-off against hosts France in Paris on Sunday.
It was reported last week – as was first published on the WADA website Thursday, September 28 – that the Boks may be forced to compete under a neutral flag in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
They could also be denied singing their national anthem before matches, due to the country’s ‘non-compliance’ of the latest WADA regulations.
It all stems from a WADA meeting on September 22 – which made it clear that the South African National Anti-Doping Organizations (SAIDS) were ‘not compliant’ with WADA regulations, as a result of the South African government’s failure to amend its outdated drug-free sports act.
South Africa has until Friday, October 13, the day before the World Cup quarterfinals, to comply.
However, Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, said they plan to appeal the WADA ruling.
Springbok scrum coach Daan Human, addressing the media on Sunday, said he was not aware of the latest developments around the issue.
“I’m not too sure, a hundred percent, what is happening there,” Human told a media briefing.
“I can’t really comment on it.
“All I can know is the Springboks players are one hundred percent focussed on the job, on what needs to be done this week.”
He made it clear they are going to steer clear of any sideshows before the weekend’s big encounter with Les Bleus.
“I don’t think there’s focus on jerseys whatsoever,” the Boks scrum guru said.
“It doesn’t matter in which colour jersey, or a jersey without a flag on or even without the national anthem,
“I can tell you and I can assure you of one thing, the boys who are here – the 53, our whole squad here who represent South Africa – they represent 60 million people back home and they’re willing to fight for them.
“I can assure you of that”
Kodwa said last week he was confident that the unsettling issue would be resolved in good time.
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“The declaration of WADA has no effect till October 13,” Minister Kodwa said.
“However, when we lodge the appeal, it will suspend the consequences,” he said, adding that he is “positive” the matter will be resolved speedily.
The appeal means the WADA stance will have no impact on the Boks’ campaign in France.
Last month WADA announced in a statement that South Africa had fallen foul of the ‘mandatory compliance’ requirements and will face dire consequences.
(The notice of non-compliance can be read here – with the consequences below!)
The new revised anti-doping code from WADA came into effect on 1 January 2021 and all member countries must comply.
South Africa and Bermuda are the only two sporting bodies and federations out of 700 that are not compliant with the new code.
A statement by the Sports Minister, Kodwa, on the official government website already alerted to the potential problem.
* To read more about that, CLICK HERE!
& Picture credit: @Springboks