Gary Craul, the co-chairperson of Zelt Marais’ ‘war-room’ established to try to save Western Province, says the union was set to receive a massive cash injection on the day SA Rugby placed it under administration.
SA Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that it has advised the WPRFU it is invoking its constitutional power to take administrative control of the union.
The advice was provided following a decision by the executive council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union on Monday.
This comes after a tumultuous period in the union’s history, during which five executive members were suspended and subsequently four independent directors resigned.
WPRU president Marais has been accused of deliberately stalling a potential equity deal for the past six months and of centralising all power in his position. Marais last month survived a vote of no confidence as he has come under fire for disobeying and acting in direct conflict with the instructions of the joint WPRU and SA Rugby advisory committee.
However, in an interview with Netwerk24, Craul said that a new investor would have already made his first payment to the union before it was placed under administration on Tuesday morning.
Craul said the deal would have the previously drawn-up agreement with MVM Holdings, who have instead invested in the Sharks, look “stupid”.
“It’s a great deal they [SA Rugby] did not contact us properly,” Craul said. “The timing could not have been worse.
“I don’t know what we are going to do. We are disappointed. That’s all I can say.
“We were getting rid of all the negative elements, arranging capital in the short term and dealing with the property issue. The guy we were bringing in to manage the real-estate portfolio, is one of the best in South Africa. It [SA Rugby’s intervention] makes no sense.”
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