Britain petitioned in Bok ‘quota’ row

Date published: September 1 2015

A political party has urged the British High Commission in South Africa to take note of alleged political interference in the selection of the Springboks' Rugby World Cup squad.

The Freedom Front Plus said they want players to be picked on merit and not based on the colour of their skin. They also asked that merit, and not quotas, should be the only selection citeria.

In a petition to the British High Commission in South Africa, the Freedom Front Plus asks that British rugby unions and the British government to note that a quota-system based on race is “forced” in the selection of the South African rugby team.

“This is in breach of the golden international sporting code of no political interference in sport.

“The political interference in the selection of the national rugby team may mean that South Africa’s strongest available team will not be competing and/or taking part in the Rugby World-Cup Tournament for 2015.

“As a result, the ultimate winner of the tournament will not be able to claim that they are the world champion team as South Africa would have stood a reasonable chance of winning the tournament with a team selected on merit.

“It goes without saying that the quota issue itself has a very negative impact on the individual players and the team, and the government interference causes divisions in South African society on a racial basis.”

The Freedom Front Plus added that “the political impairment of a potential winner will place the credibility of the whole tournament in jeopardy”.

The party asked the High Commission o take the matter up with South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the South African government to ensure that the Rugby World Cup would be a fair tournament based on merit.

Anton Alberts of the Freedom Front Plus said there should be no political interference in the selection of the Springbok team.

He said the South African government must develop rugby at schools when children are at a young age and especially amongst youngsters in rural and poor communities.

“The quota system is unfair for everyone even the black players because people will question if a black player is selected on merit or skin colour,” explained Alberts.

High Commission spokesman Hooman Nouruzi reserved comment saying: “We have to study the letter carefully before we can make any comment.”

The Freedom Front Plus' petition comes after another South African political party, The Agency for New Agenda party (ANA), took the country's sports minister and the South African Rugby Union to court on Monday in a bid to stop the Springboks from competing at the Rugby World Cup.