Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby have requested that their independent misconduct hearing be made public to ensure that there is transparency in the disciplinary process.
World Rugby formally charged Erasmus and SA Rugby after the director of rugby produced a video in which he criticised match officials during the recent British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
In the video, Erasmus highlighted a host of officiating discrepancies in the first Test of the series which was handled by Australian referee Nic Berry.
On Thursday it was confirmed that the misconduct hearing will take place over the weekend of 30-31 October.
Independent judicial panel chairman Christopher Quinlan QC (New Zealand) will chair the panel alongside Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and Judge Mike Mika (New Zealand).
But there’s a growing fear within the SA Rugby ranks that the outcome of the hearing has been predetermined and that SA Rugby and Erasmus will not face a fair trial if the hearing takes place behind closed doors.
According to Rapport, this has led SA Rugby to ask for an open disciplinary hearing, a request to which World Rugby responded with “hearings are never open to the public” when asked for comment on the matter.
Reacting to World Rugby’s response, Erasmus’ lawyer, Frikkie Erasmus, said that there are regulations in place that make provision for hearings to be done in public if it is deemed to be in the interest of justice.
“The allegations against Rassie are unfounded and the facts will be revealed during the hearing,” he told Rapport. “It is therefore in the interest of justice to have a transparent hearing. There is no justification for any secrecy.”
Another of SA Rugby and Erasmus’ concerns is the three-man disciplinary panel appointed to oversee the hearing.
Despite World Rugby saying this will be an independent disciplinary hearing, all three panel members are on its payroll as they are part of the governing body’s regular disciplinary panel.
It is understood that SA Rugby and Erasmus expected the independent panel to consist of outside parties.
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