Kings hooker to take union to court

Michael van Vuuren (Gallo Images)
Michael van Vuuren (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - EP Kings hooker Michael van Vuuren is prepared to take the union to court following the non-payment of his salary.

The EP Rugby Union is in dire straits with players not receiving their salaries the last few months.

With the Kings set to play Super Rugby next season, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) opted to step in and take control of matters.

It is believed that SARU has identified around 22 Kings players who will be offered contracts on Wednesday, while the remaining players in the Kings squad will be contracted to the EPRU.

This led to an uproar among the Kings squad and on Monday the players - led by Kevin Luiters and Ronnie Cooke - handed over a petition of grievances to EPRU president Cheeky Watson, raising concerns about the fact that only some of them would be offered SARU contracts for Super Rugby.

Van Vuuren, who formerly represented Stade Francais and Free State, said he had no option but seek legal advice.

He posted the following letter on his Facebook page:

I refer to the non-payment of monies due to me for the months of October and November of this year and the present impasse between the executive of eastern province rugby and the players.

Unfortunately I am no longer in a position to accept non-payment of monies due to me and the present climate of uncertainty.

These monies are the life blood of my existence.

Approximately 19 months ago I relocated from France to return to my country and the province and city i grew up in.

I did so with my fiancé in tow and with the intention of representing my province at super rugby and currie cup level.

I was proud and excited by my return to Nelson Mandela bay and looked forward to committing to eastern province rugby.

However the events of this year have left me disillusioned.

Notwithstanding frequent non-payment and or late payment, I have remained committed, loyal and hopeful that the executive would resolve sponsorship issues and thereby ensure regular payment of monies due to the players and I. Despite a petition and a plea from the players, it is now clear to me that the executive cannot resolve the issues. Liquidation is held over my head and that in a sea of uncertainty.

The non-payment of monies due to me for October and November have left me financially embarrassed.

I am no longer in a position to rely upon my friends and my family.

The shroud of mystery that surrounds the sponsorship issue, the broken promises and continued financial issues as well as the constant reference to liquidation has rendered my position untenable.

Unfortunately the executive is in material breach of my contract and in the circumstances I have no choice but to cancel my contract and exercise my legal remedies.

I reserve all my rights including the right to amplify this letter and the reasons for my decision.

This matter is now in the hands of my legal representatives.

This has not been an easy decision as I had committed to a future in the eastern cape. I stood for something I believe in, and I can hold my head up high. I’m not sure what my future looks like but I know who holds my future. I wish the players, and the region well.

Michael van Vuuren

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