Report: Cheetahs gear up to sue over PRO16 snub
The Cheetahs have brought in a high-profile South African advocate to help protect their franchise status. According to Netwerk24, the Cheetahs have reached out to South African Advocate Wim Tengrove SC to help with the legal battle for their spot in Europe. The move follows reports that the four Super Rugby franchises the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers are set to join the revamped PRO14 competition, which means that the Cheetahs and Kings will be axed from the European competition for a revamped ‘PRO16’.
The Cheetahs and Kings joined the Pro14 in 2017 after being kicked out of Super Rugby when the tournament was reduced from 18 to 15 teams.
While the Kings have already revealed they will not participate in any rugby this year and with their dire financial woes diminishing their chances in Europe, the Cheetahs are determined to keep theirs.
The SA Rugby bosses are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to vote for the four South African franchises that will join the expanded Pro16 tournament in 2021.
Should the outcome not go in favour of the Cheetahs, reports reveal they will take the legal action against SA Rugby.
The one thing strengthening the Free State side’s case is the fact they have a contract with SA Rugby to play in the Pro14 until 2023.
Reports reveal that the Cheetahs would lose an income of R30milion per annum in sponsors and TV-rights is they are axed from the Pro14.
Meanwhile, is has also been speculated that an alternative option for Bloemfontein side will be to join a newly developing Super Eight tournament in Australia or New Zealand.
The planned Super Eight would be played over a month, however, the idea does not sit well with the Cheetahs.
Earlier this month the Southern Kings went into voluntary liquidation to secure the longer-term financial future of rugby in Eastern Province. The shareholders – the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby – took the decision in the face of an accumulated deficit of R55m, and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020.
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