The youngsters aren't the racists, says SA Rugby boss

Mark Alexander (Gallo Images)
Mark Alexander (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says racism in the game is not an issue among players, but the same cannot always be said of administrators and politicians.

Alexander was speaking in parliament on Tuesday when the rugby governing body did a presentation in front of the Portfolio Committee of Sport and Recreation.

According to Netwerk24, Alexander had to answer several questions regarding the transformation of the game in South Africa.

The rugby boss stressed that SA Rugby was a non-racial organisation and added that racism was not prevalent at grassroots level.

“I have a video on my phone which was taken at one of SA Rugby’s youth weeks where several young boys from different backgrounds sing and dance together. This tells the story that South Africa has moved on. There was no racism among these boys. We (administrators and politicians) are the racists. We’ve got baggage. The youngsters don’t have baggage,” Alexander said.

He added that the problem was also not evident in a team setup.

“The problem lies with the parents, guys like us, who still carry that baggage. Sometimes we see things we wouldn’t be seeing. The problems start with us,” Alexander added.

Alexander also told parliament that SA Rugby was struggling financial.

The EWN website reported on Tuesday that SA Rugby suffered a net loss of R62 million in 2017.

The reasons for the heavy loss were attributed to the failed 2023 Rugby World Cup bid and the costs involved in getting the Cheetahs and Southern Kings into the PRO14.

SA Rugby stated that sponsorships of up to R38.5 million did not materialise due to the lost World Cup bid.

In November last year, South Africa looked set to beat France, Italy and Ireland for the rights to host the 2023 World Cup.

However, World Rugby’s Council opted to overturn a recommendation that South Africa should host the tournament and instead voted for France to host the tournament in a secret ballot.

The cost of getting the Cheetahs and Kings into the PRO14 was said to be R33 million.

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