South Africa quota plans to be referred to IRB
June 24, 2014
Fikile Mbalula had demanded the immediate implementation of proposals which would have meant all teams had to have at least 60% black or coloured players © Getty Images
The ongoing issues over quotas in South African rugby has again surfaced with a report that a complaint is being filed with the IRB over plans by the government to re-introduce such a system.
In April, Fikile Mbalula, the country's sports minister, had demanded the immediate implementation of proposals which would have meant all teams had to have at least 60% black or coloured players. He said any organisation refusing to fall into line would have all central funding withdrawn and could be prevented from taking part in international competitions. He subsequently delayed the implementation after meeting representatives of various sporting groups.
On Monday, Beeld carried a report that SARU president Oregan Hoskins had sent a message to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer asking for a greater representation of blacks in the national team.
"We need to give black players, specifically 'African blacks', more chances in the team," Hoskins told the newspaper. "I spoke to the coach and he agreed, the time is right for this. I believe we will already see a change or two against Scotland this coming weekend."
Now civil rights organisation AfriForum is taking the matter to the IRB, arguing the governing body's own rules prohibit racial discrimination and political interference in rugby.
AfriForum claims to represent the discrimination of minorities in South Africa with "a specific focus on the rights of Afrikaners as a community living on the southern tip of the continent".
"SARU's instruction to the Springbok coach is a crude form of racial discrimination," AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said. "[It's] an indication that SARU has surrendered to the quota threats of Mbalula.
"A racial quota system disadvantages all talented players of all races. White players are disadvantaged because they are excluded from participation based on their race and the validity of the inclusion of black players in teams is by default suspect."
He said the government and SARU "should address their own failure to develop young talent at school level with development programmes rather than playing the numbers game in a top-down manipulation of the sport".
AfriForum's would also look into the possibility of opening a case with the International Court for Arbitration in Sport.
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