No ‘bailout’ for EP Rugby

SA Rugby has appointed executive council member Monde Tabata to help administer matters at the embattled Eastern Province Rugby Union. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd was placed under provisional liquidation in March after a group of players brought a legal application to the Port Elizabeth High Court after failing to receive salaries as far back as last September.

At the end of February, EPRU president Cheeky Watson survived a vote of no confidence after a constitutional technicality scuppered the motion, but at the same AGM, disgruntled clubs called for SA Rugby to send an administrator to oversee the running of EP Rugby.

Although a proposed rescue plan was also expected to be discussed at last week’s SA Rugby annual meeting, president Oregan Hoskins confirmed there had not been enough time to address the matter in detail.

With EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd being given until 10 May to settle the outstanding debts or face the prospect of the liquidation order becoming final, there’s now just over a month left for a resolution to be found to the union’s financial woes.

On Monday, an SA Rugby spokesman rubbished reports that a massive multimillion-rand rescue bailout plan had been approved, but confirmed that Tabata would be monitoring proceedings in Port Elizabeth closely.

‘Reports of a “bailout” by SA Rugby are entirely inaccurate. The executive council has, however, appointed one of its members [Tabata] to liaise with the local union over the short term to discuss ways and means to ensure rugby continues despite the liquidation application.’

It’s also believed that fellow executive member Francois Davids will play a role in overseeing the political matters affecting EP Rugby.

Meanwhile, Rugby Transformation Coalition representative Bantwini Matika told on Monday that he was hopeful that a proposed special general meeting would take place in the near future, with plans in place for another vote of no confidence to be tabled against Watson.

‘We want this meeting to take place before the end of April, and we are confident that we will be able get the vote of no confidence passed this time,' he said.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis