Rugby Africa president Abdelaziz Bougja says SA Rugby ignored the organisation instead of asking for its 2023 World Cup backing.
France won the right to host the tournament after getting 25 votes to South Africa’s 14 in the second World Rugby council vote in London on Wednesday. Ireland was eliminated after the first vote.
Rugby Africa’s offices are at SA Rugby headquarters in Cape Town, yet both of their votes reportedly went to France.
Rugby Africa president Abdelaziz Bougja is a French citizen of Moroccan descent, who has been living in France for 30 years.
Speaking to Sport24.com, Bougja didn’t confirm or deny that his organisation had voted for France, but said it had been ‘ignored by SA Rugby and not asked to voted for South Africa’.
‘Did they [South Africa] do things the right way? Did they go to visit the unions and make relations?’ he vented. ‘We were never consulted by SA Rugby to get us to come on board. We never had the chance to work with them on that. We have been totally ignored.
‘We had a democratic process inside the executive committee. We explained before what our process would be, it was very transparent.
‘The process was that all nine members of the Exco would vote, confidentially. How can the people know who we voted for and who we didn’t vote for? I would like to know how.
‘Our process was confidential and also when we went to vote, it was a secret. You just put a tick on the name, so how can the people say we voted against or for? We don’t know.’
Bougja added it was difficult to choose between France and South Africa because his organisation has ties to both countries.
‘We have a huge French community in Africa. It was very hard for us,’ he said.