Stay of execution for Cheeky

EPRU president Cheeky Watson avoided a vote of no confidence at Saturday’s AGM in Port Elizabeth, but will again be held accountable at a special general meeting in February. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

At an often chaotic and confrontational annual general meeting at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the EP Rugby leadership faced up to numerous stakeholders and club delegates seeking clarity on the organisation's dire financial situation, with 97 of the 119 clubs in attendance.

However, it’s believed that representatives of a number of those clubs were unsatisfied with the finances presented, with a lack of information provided for the EPRU’s professional arm, EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd, and the now Saru-controlled Super Rugby franchise.

Yet in a statement released on Saturday night by EP Rugby, it was stated that the 2015 annual report of the union had been 'adopted by an overwhelming majority of clubs'.

Altercations had once again taken place earlier in the day when certain club representatives were denied entry to the venue, with the meeting at one point having to be put on hold before recommencing late in the afternoon.

With some matters on the agenda unable to be comprehensively addressed, and with calls for a bigger picture of EP’s financial affairs to be presented, a special meeting was called for 28 February.

It’s at this meeting, which will constitutionally allow for a vote of no confidence to be tabled, that EP Rugby’s leadership could well face the prospect of being pushed out of power by disgruntled delegates.

EP Rugby currently faces threats of liquidation action on more than one front, and initial reports seems to suggest there was no further clarity provided on the likelihood of money being made available to pay outstanding salaries to players and staff.

To make matters worse, the Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers Association has filed charges of corruption against the EP Kings and certain members of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro executive over alleged illegal loans paid out to the union, while the stadium operator Access Management also faces charges.

Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis