AfriForum to lodge complaint against rugby quotas

2014-06-23 15:54

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A legal team is preparing to submit an official complaint to the International Rugby Board (IRB), against a proposed quota system by the SA Rugby Union (Saru), civil rights organisation AfriForum has said.

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said today IRB rules prohibited racial discrimination and political interference in rugby.

“Saru’s instruction to the Springbok coach is a crude form of racial discrimination and an indication that Saru has surrendered to the quota threats of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula,” Kriel said in a statement.

AfriForum’s legal team would look into the possibility of opening a case with the International Court for Arbitration in Sport.

Beeld newspaper reported today that Saru president Oregan Hoskins had sent a message to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer about having a greater representation of blacks in the national team.

Hoskins said he personally delivered the message to Meyer.

“We need to give black players, specifically ‘African blacks’, more chances in the team,” he told the Afrikaans daily.

“I spoke to the coach and he agreed. The time is right for this. I believe we will already see a change or two against Scotland this coming weekend.”

Kriel said it was not in the interest of South African rugby, players or the supporters of the sport for Saru to “blatantly contravene” the IRB’s rules.

AfriForum supported rugby development, and wanted everyone to have the opportunity to participate in the sport, he said.

“A racial quota system disadvantages all talented players of all races,” Kriel said.

“White players are disadvantaged because they are excluded from participation based on their race and the validity of the inclusion of black players in teams is by default suspect.”

AfriForum’s complaint was based on bylaw 3 of the IRB rules and regulations. It compels the IRB to prevent any form of racial discrimination in rugby.

Regulation 20 determines that any action in rugby which entails racial discrimination amounts to “misconduct”.

The IRB may institute disciplinary steps against any rugby body that violates these rules.

“Saru and government should address their own failure to develop young talent at school level with development programmes rather than playing the numbers game in a top-down manipulation of the sport,” said Kriel.

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