High-level discussions between Eastern Province Rugby, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the South African Rugby Players’ Association (SARPA) took place in Port Elizabeth on Thursday to review the current and future financial stability of the union.
The talks stemmed from concerns over the recent delayed payments to EP Kings players.
SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins, SARU GM Operations and Finance, Basil Haddad, and SARPA CEO Piet Heymans met EP Rugby officials.
Mr Hoskins said he had full confidence in the current leadership under EP Rugby President Cheeky Watson.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) may have to bail out the Eastern Province Rugby Union to end a player strike.
An ongoing stand-off between EP Rugby and the players, over the non-payment of salaries, has put in jeopardy the Currie Cup match between the Xerox Golden Lions and EP Kings in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The latest controversy follows a similar dispute in July, when New Zealander Carlos Spencer – then a member of the coaching panel – walked away from the team over non-payment of salaries.
The players were eventually paid at the end of July, with some reports claiming that it was the result of a SARU intervention.
Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) President Cheeky Watson responded with a terse “no comment”, when approached over the ongoing financial crisis at the Port Elizabeth-based union.
The South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA) confirmed they will meet with the players on Thursday, as the latest stand-off drags into a 3rd day.
EP Kings players and the union’s management are again at loggerheads over apparent delays in player payments.
The cash-strapped union was unable to pay players for several months earlier in the season, but the issue was thought to be resolved last month when EP president Cheeky Watson announced that the players were compensated up until the end of July.
However, similar issues appear to have risen again with regards to August’s salaries, and according to CEO Charl Crous they are working at “resolving the matter”.
There is believed to be a threat of a player strike, although Crous said he received no communication in that regard.
EP Kings rugby players have received their overdue salary payments.
The cash-strapped union was unable to pay its players in recent months, but according to reports, players were finally compensated.
EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson said his players had been paid up to date and were also compensated for any inconveniences.
Watson would not elaborate further but it is thought that the payment includes the double pay packet promised because of the delays in securing a new sponsor.
There is however still no news on the Kings’ new lucrative sponsorship, believed to be in the region of R 200 Million.
The EP Kings have expressed their disappointment after former coach Carlos Spencer voiced his dissatisfaction at unpaid wages.
Spencer earlier this week parted ways with the Kings and – through his attorney David Jones – the former All Black has attributed his departure from the Kings to their continued troubles in meeting wage obligations.
The Kings on Thursday insisted that Spencer and his lawyers’ claims were “simply not true”.
“The initial problems we had with Carlos’ salary was due to his insistence of having his funds paid into an offshore account,” EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, said via a media statement.
Watson said this resulted in delays that arose out of the administrative compliance and paperwork issues.
The Eastern Province Rugby Referees Society will return to adjudicating Eastern Province Rugby Union club matches with immediate effect, after the EPRU cancelled all club games last weekend over the poor treatment of referees.
Eastern Province Rugby Union President, Cheeky Watson, confirmed that he had met with the referees last week to address their concerns.
EP Rugby CEO Anele Pamba has resigned from his position with immediate effect, leaving President Cheeky Watson in “shock”.