Currie Cup

Lions hit back at Luyt's claims

2012-08-29 21:55
Kevin de Klerk (File)
Cape Town - Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) president Kevin de Klerk has hit back at criticism from former Lions boss Louis Luyt after he lashed out at the cash-strapped union.

Luyt, who built the Lions (Transvaal) into a multi-million rand empire in the 1980s and 90s, said earlier this week when he left the union in 2000 it was financially sound. He said there was "R85m in cash reserves and no debt” - a far cry from the R80m debt they are reportedly suffering from at present.

"It's not a question of what's happened to the Golden Lions Rugby Union but rather a question of why people allowed it to happen," Luyt told Ballz Radio.

"With all due respect, how can you let a fantastic union like the Lions go down the drain like they did? I can only assume that people who were in charge didn't know what they were doing and what rugby was about.

"The money was there. But somehow or other the decision was made to use the money for junior rugby and other poor business decisions.”

However, De Klerk has responded strongly to Luyt's claims - saying rugby is now a different management game than when Luyt retired.

"Some of Dr Luyt's comments are mischievous and I wasn't around when he supposedly left this great amount of money behind at the GLRU," De Klerk told the Sowetan's website.

"I can give you an assurance that all monies are accounted for and there was no wrongdoing.

"Perhaps Dr Luyt's health at 80 years of age is not that great. I would urge him to enjoy his retirement and if he wants to advise the GLRU he is welcome to give me a call instead of sensationalising our situation.

"(Luyt) has had his time at the top and now he must let us get on with it. The moral is that with respect to Dr Luyt, these are different times and running a union is vastly different from what it was like in his day.

"The budgets are bigger and allocated differently. He made a reference that criticised the union for contracting junior players, but that's an absolute reality of the modern game. You have to contract good juniors at great expense," said De Klerk.

De Klerk, however, did admit that things are tough at the moment but said its challenges that "we will come through".

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