Rugby bosses divided over SA Rugby profits

A heated argument reportedly took place between South Africa’s rugby bosses on Friday over how SA Rugby’s unexpected profit of R21-million should be allocated.

According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the argument came against the backdrop of South Africa’s international franchises – the Vodacom Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers – suffering a combined loss of approximately R200-million due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During Friday’s virtual meeting of SA Rugby’s main council, union and franchise bosses were heated over the distribution of the R21-million surplus.

According to the report, the smaller unions, led by Griffons president Rudy September, wanted the money to be divided solely between the non-franchises (Boland, EP, SWD, Falcons, Griffons, Border and Leopards) and the domestic franchises (Cheetahs, Griquas and Pumas).

However, both Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee and Bulls president Willem Strauss said that would be unfair, due to the losses sustained by the international franchises.

SA Rugby’s proposal was that the international franchises should each receive an additional R3,064-million for TV rights for the year while the domestic franchises would receive an additional R1,672-million and the non-franchises R458,000.

The Lions, Bulls, Sharks, Pumas, Griquas, EP and Cheetahs reportedly voted in favour of SA Rugby’s proposal, but the Falcons, Griffons, SWD, Boland and the Leopards were against it.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander then asked for a vote on September’s proposal, but Coetzee threatened to leave before requesting a break to consult with Sharks shareholders. After consultation, Coetzee reiterated that the Sharks were dissatisfied with September’s proposal and it was abandoned.

A compromise proposal from the Cheetahs also failed.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux then decided that the division would take place according to SA Rugby’s formula. This means 47% of the R21-million will be paid to the international franchises, 19% to the domestic franchises, 12% to the non-franchises and 2% to the Limpopo Blue Bulls.

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Dylan Jack