EP Rugby waiting game continues

The Eastern Province Rugby Union has again avoided the possibility of a liquidation application becoming final after court proceedings were postponed to 4 August. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

The Port Elizabeth High Court ruled that EP Rugby should be placed under provisional liquidation back in March, with the cash-strapped union having failed to resolve its financial woes that have seen some players going unpaid for well over six months.

After joint liquidation proceedings on behalf of some 36 players were brought to court, an order was handed down placing the EPRU and its professional arm, EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd, under provisional liquidation, while being given until 10 May to address the issues or face the prospect of the order becoming final.

However, court proceedings were then postponed to 31 May in order for a business rescue application to be prepared, which was eventually tabled last week, revealing that UK company Integrated Sport was willing to invest R100-million over the next few years to bail out the beleaguered union.

On Tuesday, court proceedings related to the liquidation order were again postponed, this time until 4 August, in order to allow the parties who brought the original liquidation application to study the business rescue plan.

Should the rescue plan be accepted, it remains to be seen what portion of the investment would go towards settling the unpaid salaries owed to players.

Lawyer Craig Jessop, representing the players, told SARugbymag.co.za that they are considering the contents of that application and consulting the various interested parties.

For those who remain unpaid, the waiting game continues. Meanwhile, it's also believed that another potentially planned vote of no confidence in EPRU president Cheeky Watson was unable to take place due to clubs not being able to meet the quorum.

With the travel costs for rural clubs apparently not catered for, a number of delegates were unable to attend the scheduled special meeting.

Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis