Johannesburg - The SA Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday clarified the position on South African teams participating in the Super Rugby competition.
SARU said its executive council (EXCO) proposed at a special general meeting in January that the top four teams in the South African conference in this year's Super Rugby competition would join the Southern Kings in next year's competition.
The hotly debated issue should be settled at the next general meeting on July 13 in Cape Town.
The decision to include the Southern Kings in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament was made at the same meeting.
SARU revealed on Thursday that it had also been proposed that the last-placed team in the South African conference would play a promotion/relegation match against the non-Super Rugby franchise after the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The franchises, however, requested at the same meeting that a decision on the mechanism of qualification be postponed to allow them time to make alternative proposals.
According to a briefing document on South African participation in the 2013 Super Rugby competition, SARU said the general meeting accepted the request.
SARU chief executive Jurie Roux, according to the document asked for it to be recorded that the delay in a decision was at the franchises’ request, therefore precluding them (SARU) from criticism of delays in any decisions.
At a meeting between the EXCO and franchise representatives it was decided that a delegation of franchise representatives would accompany SARU's SANZAR (Australia and New Zealand) delegates to meet SANZAR partners.
They intended to argue for the expansion of the competition to 16 teams to accommodate all six of South Africa's current franchises.
The meeting has since been postponed without a date being scheduled.
"Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings' place in Super Rugby in 2013," said Roux.
"Our focus has been on finding a rugby answer to the questions that flow from that that's fair, transparent in its mechanism and will strengthen South African rugby in the long run. Those discussions continue.
"Until a final decision is reached, the franchises and the SARU presidency are agreed that it would be unhelpful to the competing teams to publicly debate the pros and cons of different scenarios.
"When a decision is announced we will be able to report back to rugby supporters in full."
SARU said franchise representatives and members of the EXCO would meet in Johannesburg on May 17 for further discussions.