Super Rugby

Bulls president Wessels calls it quits

Gert Wessels (Photo credit: Blue Bulls Rugby Union - Facebook)
Gert Wessels (Photo credit: Blue Bulls Rugby Union - Facebook)

Cape Town - Gert Wessels has resigned from his position as president of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union (BBRU).

Wessels handed in his resignation over the weekend after a section within the union tabled a motion of no confidence in him, citing his "reckless behaviour" outside his mandate which "ruined" the union financially.

This comes after a report surfaced last week that the union’s professional arm, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd (BBC), was struggling to keep head above water.

Afrikaans website Netwerk24 reported that Wessels - who was the president of the amateur arm, the BBRU - allegedly made several unauthorised loan transfers from the union’s funds to the BBC, but the payments appeared to be in arrears.

The report further stated that the BBC was close to being declared bankrupt and was surviving on more loans and favours.

An initial loan worth R8.43 million from the BBRU to the BBC was supposed to be paid off by February 2017 but the professional arm had failed to do so.

The report also stated that the BBRU’s CEO, Eugene Hare, approved an unauthorised loan of R5 million to the BBC. By doing this, the BBRU also signed a surety for R7.5 million of the BBC’s other outstanding debt.

Wessels has subsequently resigned but has maintained his innocence and told Netwerk24 that the union - as an equal shareholder - has a responsibility to finance the company pro rata.

"I decided to step down, but to single me out as the scapegoat is unfair and vindictive. As soon as the shareholders' agreement was signed in 1998 - long before I took office as president - it became the union's responsibility to finance the company," Wessels said.

"For as long as the union has a 50 percent share in the company, its management has to look after the company's best interests. These decisions were not made by me alone, but collectively in the relevant management divisions.”

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