Cape Town - Former Test referee and South African Rugby Union general manager of referees, Andre Watson, has responded to his sacking on Friday.
In a press release issued on Friday, Watson said:
It was with shock that I was
informed of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)
finding and subsequent termination of my employment with SARU. I am passionate
about rugby and more specifically refereeing. It was an honour and privilege to
be employed by the South African Rugby Union. I wish to offer my apologies to SARU,
fellow employees and the South African rugby public for the negative publicity
that emanated from this process.
Unfortunately my personal and
professional integrity were damaged beyond repair following allegations devoid
of any truth, widely publicised in the national and international press. The
irony is that these very serious allegations did not even form part of the
charges levied against me in the CCMA process. I have instructed my attorney of
record to take legal action against those individuals responsible for this
false rumours that tarnished by reputation and dignity and which, in my view, contributed
to the outcome of CCMA process.
During the disciplinary hearing it
was highlighted that the use of foul language and swearing became a habit in the
rugby environment. I amongst others, made myself guilty of this. This made out
the crux of the allegations levied against me. I acknowledge it to be
unacceptable when representing SARU in a professional capacity. I tendered my
apology and commitment to refrain from future transgressions in this regard.
Listening to evidence during the
hearing I came to realize that my management style in certain instances might
reasonably be interpreted as dictatorial, strict and abrasive. My attitude
remains that in the high performance environment of international refereeing
you have to be thick skinned and able to take criticism on the proverbial chin.
In my mission to ensure that our referees remain to be regarded as the best in
the world I drove a hard bargain with the referee’s in my department. I demand
high performance and if not achieved I addressed this in no uncertain terms. This
was apparently not acceptable for certain individuals within the fraternity.
I will never apologise for the
expectations and high standards set. In retrospect I appreciate that it is not
always about the message but also about the how it is conveyed. Individuals
differ and the same result can be achieved by having regard to different
personality types and treating them accordingly, without negating on standard
I am advised by my attorney to
refrain from any comment on the findings of the CCMA or the appropriateness of
the sanction imposed under the circumstances. I have instructed my attorney to
take the applicable legal steps to take the finding and sanction imposed on