Vodacom Super 14

Sharks face disciplinary action

2010-01-27 22:35
Willem Alberts (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell and Pieter Jordaan

Cape Town – The Sharks will have to explain to a disciplinary committee why Willem Alberts played without a clearance certificate in a friendly match against the Western Force at Newlands on Tuesday night.

South African Rugby Union (SARU) legal manager Christo Ferreira confirmed on Wednesday that he had received a complaint from the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU).

“The Lions’ complaint is against Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik, and the Sharks,” said Ferreira.

Ludik is injured and has not yet played for the Sharks, but Ferreira said that the Lions are of the view that he was not allowed to train with the Sharks. The Lions believe they have binding contracts with Alberts and Ludik.

SARU referred the matter to the chairperson of its judicial committee, Lex Mpati. He will appoint a disciplinary committee to rule on the allegation that SARU’s regulation on player movement had been breached.

Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl told Sport24 that Alberts and Ludik had exactly the same kind of contract with the Lions as Jaque Fourie.

Fourie was involved in a contractual dispute with the GLRU and an arbitrator eventually ruled that he does not have a valid contract for this year. He was therefore free to join Western Province.

“We want SARU to intervene and adjudicate on the matter, as they are obliged to do according to their regulations. We have asked SARU for over a month to intervene,” said Van Zyl when approached for comment about the latest developments.

“We believe the contracts (Alberts and Ludik) are exactly the same as that of Jaque Fourie. We have seen both. Jaque initially approached us about the possibility of coming to play here.

“What boggles the mind is that the players earn more with us than the Lions. If the contracts were valid, they would have had the right to match. They believe the players are absent without leave and have not paid them since November 1.”

Cape Town-based attorney Frikkie Erasmus, who handled Fourie’s affairs, will represent the Sharks.

“We’ll have to wait for the charge sheet to see what the situation is,” said Erasmus.

Lion’s chief executive Manie Reyneke said that he hoped the matter could be resolved soon.

“Unfortunately the players (Alberts and Ludik) will suffer. If we can get clarity as soon as possible, then the poor players will also know where they should play,” said Reyneke.

Coming in the wake of the Fourie-dispute, the Alberts/Ludik debacle has apparently exposed a major problem with contracting.

The GLRU have also benefited as Cheetahs scrumhalf JP Joubert was freed this week to play for the Lions.

“But it really is a serious issue,” said Reyneke about the exploitation of so-called grey areas in the players’ contracts.


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