Graeme Joffe

SA Rugby needs a shake up!

2012-10-19 10:17
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
I’m still finding it hard to believe that a CEO of a multi-million rand company would respond in such a cocky, sarcastic and delusional way, but then again, we've come to expect that from some of our sporting bodies.

SASCOC are the kings at it and the muddy waters in SA sport starts right at the top.
Speaking of kings, I just wish Kings fans would understand that I am in no way against the Kings and after spending three years at Rhodes and going to the old Boet Erasmus stadium on many occasions, I am actually very fond of the Eastern Cape and have said it before, would be great to see a Super Rugby and PSL franchise in the region.

My argument is against SA Rugby and what they have done to both the Kings and the Lions and how they’ve managed to divide a rugby nation. Kings fans must not forget how SARU has treated them up until now. The Kings should have been promoted to the “A” section of the Currie Cup four years ago, to give them a realistic chance of building a foundation with home grown players for Super Rugby.

We can agree to disagree, but the manner in which the Kings have been promoted and the Lions demoted is nothing short of a rugby crime committed by SARU.

So, I am fighting to make sure these officials are at least made accountable for the violation of the constitution that they are there to uphold - because right now, they are NOT.  

Some comments in response to the answers given by SARU CEO, Jurie Roux in my last column.

Firstly, the whole essence of this debacle fermented by SARU, is that the Games & Policies Sub-Committee is mandated by SARU to explore, research and recommend tournament formats and fixtures - it appears they have failed to do this - and no vote should have been put to the Exco without the recommendations and options presented by the Games & Policies Sub-Committee - that is a SARU function who are obligated to perform this for the 14 unions and six franchises.

That is a failure by SARU to have performed this at all.

Mr Roux, you know full well the charade of "bidding" for a sixth franchise in Super Rugby was nothing short of a publicity stunt, or hoax, to include the Southern Kings in the tournament. Five teams per SANZAR member was scripted in 2009 and set in stone then. And to say, “this arrangement at least keeps all six franchise in play until the broadcast deal can be re-negotiated” is simply laughable.

What play do the Lions have?

And to say this at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport “the Kings will play in the competition in 2013, but not at the expense of one of the other franchises” - then deny you ever said it – are you sure you are fit for office?
You say no unions that voted the Lions out were promised any incentives... mmmmm, SARU you’ve changed. Amazing how quickly a reported R40 million offer to the Kings to stay out for one more season disappeared into thin air. 

“SARU has not spent a cent on the Kings since becoming a shareholder”. I think your financials will show something a little different. SARU has pumped millions into the Kings for “development”.

What development is there to show for it?

How many players of colour in the Kings starting XV to face Free State in the first game of the Currie Cup playoff?

SASCOC should be having SARU’s balls for breakfast for lack of transformation (any other sporting code would have felt the heat) but SASCOC and SARU have a nice little cosy relationship.

I think you'll find that SASCOC president Gideon Sam was heavily involved at the time in terms of Lottery distribution when SARU was granted funds for rugby academies in the Eastern Cape. Mr Sam is also on the board of Accelerate, which is part of the group that has the stadium management rights for Nelson Mandela Bay. His position on the Lottery distribution board is now occupied by another SASCOC member, Hajera Kajee, who is also vice-president of SA Table Tennis.
No conflict of interests???????

SARU deputy president Mark Alexander is also a SASCOC board member. Just not sure which organisation paid for his Olympic stay in London. Mr Alexander also had a number of guests to whom he gave Olympic tickets. Just hope these weren’t tickets that should have been allocated for the SA athletes.

Now you know why the waters in SA sport are so muddy.

Perhaps, SARU should also look at getting the Chinese manufacturer Erke on board  as a kit supplier. SASCOC CEO, Tubby Reddy and a few others have just had another great trip to China for a “debrief”.
If success was measured in frequent flyer miles, we would have the best sports administrators in the world.

For SARU to turn a blind eye to unaccredited agents like Mark Keohane is pathetic. Why then even bother with the SARU workshop and test for agents? 

SARU, don’t worry about a violation of your constitution.  

As Luke Watson’s manager/agent, Keohane has consistently pushed the Kings agenda in the media at the expense of the Lions and it is some of his very biased, unobjective, unethical blogs that have helped create this storm between the Kings and Lions. The Kings inclusion in Super Rugby would not only be of financial benefit to Keohane, but also to the company he recently “resigned” from. HSM have been courting the Kings for the publishing rights to their monthly magazine and game day programmes. 
But Mr Roux I’m glad to hear that there was “no government intervention” in the Kings decision (wink wink). It was in fact your only smart answer as you know the IRB doesn’t take kindly to government intervention.

Finally to say, “the Unions (SARU) are now responsible for identifying SARU’s entrants in Vodacom Super Rugby. Participation in 2014 and 2015 is their call, as it was for 2013” is another cheap shot at the Lions to allow SARU to move the goalposts again, should the Kings finish in the relegation playoff spot.  

My suggestion is that SARU should call time out and take a good look at themselves in the mirror!

Email Graeme at:

Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 169 and streaming worldwide on Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

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Read more on:    sascoc  |  saru  |  graeme joffe  |  rugby


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