SA Rugby could be set to take full administrative control of the cash-strapped EPRU. 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. The court order stated that EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd would be given until 10 May to settle the outstanding debts or face the prospect of the liquidation order becoming final.
It followed a delayed annual general meeting in February where 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.
SA Rugby has been closely monitoring matters in EP Rugby, and appointed Monde Tabata to help administer matters at the embattled union, while fellow executive member Francois Davids has also been playing a role in overseeing the political matters affecting EP Rugby.
There is no doubt SA Rugby is determined to help prevent EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd from facing a permanent liquidation order on 10 May, but there are also limitations to the support it can provide. There is no additional funding for SA Rugby to 'bail out' the EPRU, but CEO Jurie Roux has been working hard to get sponsors on board and attain buy-in from various stakeholders.
It's believed that Watson has now been informed that SA Rugby will be enforcing a decision taken by the executive council last year to take full administrative control of the EPRU and EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd.
The EP Kings, an entity still under the control of the EPRU, are currently competing in the Currie Cup qualifying competition, but the squad is made up of junior and academy players who have been willing to 'play without pay'.
A statement from SA Rugby is expected to be released on Thursday.
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