Southern Kings could be fined ZAR1m for breach

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have confirmed that they have established
an investigation into a suspected breach of SARU’s Super Rugby participation
agreement by the Southern Kings.

The Southern Kings had three foreign players in the team that lost to the Chiefs
in Port Elizabeth which is one more than SARU’s maximum of two players per franchise.

SARU do not see players who were born in Africa as foreign so Namibian prop
Jaco Engels and Kenyan utility forward Daniel Adongo are not treated as foreigners.

SARU have released a statement explaining that, “Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU,
contacted Cheeky Watson, the chairman of the Kings board, on Tuesday to advise
him of the inquiry and also to caution him against any potential breaches.”

“The matter was discussed by an emergency teleconference of the Executive
Council (Exco) of SARU on Tuesday. “

“The Exco, in accordance with the SARU Disciplinary and Judicial Regulations,
decided to appoint a judicial sub-committee to investigate the allegation.”

“In the event of a breach being proved there is a wide range of sanctions
available, starting from a caution to a maximum fine of R1m or a recommendation
to the General Council to suspend or expel the offending organisation. “

SARU turned down a request by the Southern Kings to be permitted 5 foreign
players in their Super Rugby squad in January and they said they would comply.

Following’s SARU’s statement Watson confirmed that he had been contacted by
SARU in connection with the issue of foreign players and said that there is a “difference
of opinion relating to the definition of foreign players”.

“I have received a call from SA Rugby, and while there is a difference
of opinion relating to the definition of foreign players, it is my duty to submit
to the guidance of the governing body of SARU,” said Watson.

Elaborating on the issue of the definition of foreign players, Watson said,
“In the process leading up to the signing of foreign players last year,
we were led to believe and even encouraged to sign Argentinean players –
who currently participate in the Vodacom Cup as Pampas – with the understanding
that they would not be considered as foreign players, in the same way as Daniel
Adongo, who is from Kenya, is not considered a foreign player.”

“That being said, the sanctions which are being considered against the
Southern Kings, as per the statement issued by SARU, have been clearly conveyed
to me,” he said.

Watson said that in light of this, the decision has been made to submit to
SARU’s guidance on the matter.

“I am on record as having clearly stated that our treatment and entrance
into Super Rugby, and the entire process to date, has disadvantaged us tremendously,”
said Watson.

“However, no-one can dispute the fact that we are the first of the Super
Rugby franchises added to the competition to have won our first game. We have
also had a record of over 100,000 spectators through the gates of Nelson Mandela
Bay stadium in our first three home games,” he said.

“We have proven in the last three games that we have played, by the attendance
and the support of the spectators that we will fight and we will show our true
colours as our emblem emblazons, the spear and the shield,” he said.

“As Winston Churchill once said “We shall never surrender.””

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