Lions Rugby promises 'severe punishment' for racism

Kevin de Klerk (Gallo)
Kevin de Klerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - Johannesburg-based Roodepoort Rugby Club faces "severe punishment" if a Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) disciplinary committee finds that players launched racist attacks towards members of the Wanderers Rugby Club U-21 side last week. 

In another nasty, yet familiar story of race wars in South Africa, reports surfaced earlier this week of an alleged incident that took place in a club match between the sides last week. 

According to Wanderers, members of the Roodepoort side as well as supporters engaged in racist dialogue - including the use of the word 'k*****' - before things became physical and a fight broke out between the players. 

The incident is currently under investigation with the GLRU, and the union's president Kevin de Klerk told Sport24 on Thursday that it could take "anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks" to be concluded. 

De Klerk slammed the incident and highlighted its seriousness before ensuring that, if Roodepoort was found guilty, there would be grave consequences. 

"We've urged both parties to submit all the information that they have so that the DC can arrive at an accurate conclusion," De Klerk said.

"It is immensely stressing. I've been the president for the last nine years and we've had two such incidents during that period, which were dealt with very swiftly.

"Our record doesn't show that this occurs on a serial basis. It's an isolated incident.

"Our policy at Lions Rugby is a total zero tolerance on racism. It's part of the documents that affiliated members, like the clubs, sign. There will be severe, severe punishment for such actions."

De Klerk added that the clubs themselves needed to take responsibility in preventing such incidents from taking place.

"It's not on and it's not part of our business," he said.

"We are in the face of the people all the time saying that we do not tolerate racism, but it is up to the clubs as well to ensure that these things do not take place.

"I struggle to grasp that, in these times, people can still be involved in such activity."

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