SARU ‘knows nothing’ about McKeever’s move

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) is playing a “wait and see” game, following reports that Tony McKeever has launched another attempts at resuscitating the now defunct Spears.

McKeever, who has had a number of spiteful public spats with SARU and its commercial arm (SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd), has accused the organisation’s franchises of forming a “cartel” to kill off the Spears.

The Daily Dispatch reported that the Competition Commission (CC) has launched an investigation into allegations made by the former Spears Chief Executive Officer (CEO), McKeever.

Thulani Kunene, the commission’s Head of Enforcement, told the Dispatch that he had instructed a senior investigator to look into the matter.

However, SARU General Manager of Policy and Regulation Christo Ferreira said he knew nothing about the investigation.

“I have heard reports about the investigation, but I haven’t heard anything formal,” Ferreira told this website on Friday.

“We haven’t been contacted by anybody and certainly not the Competition Commission. So we are not going to react to rumours. If there is anything formal then we will react to it,” added Ferreira.

According to the reports the CC will attempt to determine whether there was any truth to the accusations made against SA Rugby, the Blue Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Cheetahs and Stormers.

“We rely on the integrity, ethics and mandate of the Competition Commission and particularly the enforcement division, to act swiftly and ensure that the Southern Spears are afforded an equitable opportunity to compete in the sponsorship market and on the field with the support of our commercial sponsors in a transparent market,” McKeever was quoted as saying.

McKeever, whose contract with the Spears ran out in 2006 (shortly before the Eastern Cape franchise went into liquidation earlier this year), is reported to have written a formal letter to the CC in October.

In his letter to the CC McKeever said the provinces had “collaborated, colluded, and conspired as a cartel, together with certain individuals within SA Rugby Pty Ltd to financially suppress, subdue and deliberately prevent the Southern Spears from playing in the Absa Currie Cup and the Super 14.”

According to the Dispatch McKeever further explained that SA Rugby had acted unlawfully (in violation of the Competition Act) by sabotaging the Spears sponsorship agreements and subsequently preventing the Eastern Cape franchise from participating in the Super 14.

If the five provinces are in fact found to be guilty, it is expected that they could pay up to a ZAR70m fine ($10.4m), “based on turnover.”

It would appear that a saga that has dragged on since 2005 will not be nearing it’s conclusion very soon, while McKeever also refuses to go away – even though he no longer holds any formal position and the Spears have been liquidated.


365 Digital

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