Defiant Mapoe stays in Durban

2010-08-17 00:00

TALENTED wing Lionel Mapoe, who is in a contractural dispute with the Free State Cheetahs, has defied an arbitration ruling to return to Bloemfontein and has remained in Durban.

The 22-year-old, through his lawyers, is now expected to seek relief from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Free State officials are annoyed that Mapoe has not already returned to Bloemfontein. Last week advocate Bertus van Rhyn, in ruling that Mapoe’s contract with Free State is legal, said the player should report immediately to the Cheetahs.

Mapoe’s agent and former Free State wing, Jan-Harm van Wyk, told reporters that the player has “no intention of going back to the Cheetahs”.

“The trust has broken down completely,” he added.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said yesterday he is not ertain how the situation will be settled.

“I do know Lionel is still in Durban, but it seems that the matter is now in the hands of the lawyers.”

Bloemfontein reports claim that Mapoe had been persuaded to move to Durban by his agent. Both head coach Naka Drotske and his assistant, Hawies Fourie, have said that Mapoe had not wanted to move, but was “was encouraged to do so by his agent”.

Van Zyl denied this.

“I think you’ll find that Lionel is happy here and wants to play his rugby here,” he said. “His rehab (for a shoulder injury) is complete and he is ready to play.”

Mapoe fell out with the Cheetahs in a dispute over the salary he is receiving.

He is allegedly receiving half the salary of some of the white players in the squad although he is considered one of South Africa’s hottest rugby prospects.

According to reports, and as a contracted Free State player, he was receiving R6 000 a month in his first year. This was increased to R8 000 in his second year and R10 000 in the third. Free State have now agreed to “substantially increase his salary” to about R13 000 a month, the minimum amount for contracts in this bracket and considerably less than the R80 000 per month supposedly offered by the Sharks.

Free State president Harold Verster cannot understand the fuss, noting that the arbitration hearing found “he has a legal and binding contract with us”.

Verster said there were other “options” if Mapoe failed to report to the Cheetahs, and the player could be sued for breach of contract. Verster told reporters that a letter has been sent to the player urging him to return to Bloemfontein and they are waiting for him to respond before considering further action.

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