Self-imposed isolation for SA Rugby

Date published: April 25 2016

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South African Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula has revoked SA Rugby's right to host international tournaments for failing to meet its agreed transformation targets.

In releasing the Eminent Persons Group Report on sport transformation on Monday, Mbalula revoked the hosting rights of SA Rugby, Athletics South Africa, Cricket South Africa and Netball South Africa.

The findings and outcomes of the report were presented to the 19 federations and the South African public for scrutiny, while providing the sporting codes with the opportunity to revert to Mbalula with 'individual barometers clearly spelling out transformation targets covering the next five years'.

The decision throws SA Rugby's bid to host the 2023 World Cup into jeopardy.

Mbalula stated that in the event of a federation failing to meet its own set transformation targets, it is within his right and prerogative to consider applying any of the following penalties.

He may suspend or withdraw government’s funding to the said federation due to non-compliance. He may withdraw government’s recognition of the particular federation as a national federation, "whereafter I will publish such a decision in the government gazette."

In essence, Mbalula may also revoke the privilege of a federation to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments in South Africa and withdraw recognition of the said federation.

The sports minister may withdraw the federation’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to players who participate under the auspices of that particular federation in order to represent the country, both locally and internationally.

Mbalula may also terminate the relationship and any cooperation between Sports & Recreation South Africa and the said federation due to non-compliance.

Finally he may also withdraw political support and endorsements for sponsorships.

"I am applying these measures informed by the urgent task for the sport sector to reconstruct the fragmented and deeply discriminatory sport and recreation landscape by establishing a unified sports system that is underpinned by the principles of democracy, equity, transparency, demographic representation, access and increased participation," Mbalula told SA Rugby Magazine.

Mbalula added that he would review the decision when considering the results of the 2016/17 transformation barometer.

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