Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) president Cheeky Watson has stepped down from his position at the union which is currently under administration.
His decision comes after SA Rugby announced on Monday that the union will be returned to local hands following a series of ground-breaking decisions at a special general meeting in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Under Watson's leadership, the EPRU suffered a financial crisis in 2015 during which the union were unable to pay its players' salaries.
He also faced several motions of no confidence after a R200m sponsorship which he promised for the EPRU's Super Rugby franchise, the Kings, failed to materialise.
EPRU’s affairs were eventually placed into the administrative control of SA Rugby after the Port Elizabeth-based union was liquidated.
Watson called for unity and an end to negativity ahead of EPRU’s upcoming election to find a new president.
“I always said that if there was stability with SA Rugby’s intervention and with possible funders in the wings, I would immediately resign,” he told the HeraldLIVE website.
“I think that stability is there now and the time has come to hand over the reins to new leadership. I would not consider standing again. This is a chapter that has passed and is history.
“The important thing with elections coming up is that there is unity and compromise among candidates. It is vitally important that there is unity and the negativity around EP Rugby needs to stop.
“People must be unified behind the new president to ensure that there is top-flight rugby here for years to come.
“Whoever decides to throw their hat into the ring, it is important that they negotiate with each other so they can reach compromises for certain positions so that they can have the backing of the entire province.”