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SA Rugby statement: 'Open letter' on planned Stormers protests

By Ian Cameron
Herschel Jantjies of DHL Stormers after his side's defeat in the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and DHL Stormers at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

SA Rugby have released an ‘open letter’ regarding apparent plans to picket an upcoming Stormers game by people from within the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU).


The province is currently in administration, which is the latest chapter in what has been several years of acrimony around the union. Now members of the old executive are seeking to claim back control of the union from the administrators who were sent in to straighten out its ailing finances.

Now SA Rugby have pleaded with those involved not to disrupt the current process.

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“SA Rugby has noted plans to picket a forthcoming DHL Stormers match by elements of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) club structures and wishes to remind the rugby community of certain facts. It is felt necessary to do so at this time to remind the public of the calamitous sequence of actions and inactions by the former executive that led to the WPRFU being reluctantly taken into administration.

“The remit of the administrator was to return the WPRFU to financial stability while untangling the legal complications of the myriad of putative property deals that the former administration contemplated.

“The claims now being made by individuals – some of whom were part of the executive which traded the entity to the brink of bankruptcy and now wish to reclaim control – are erroneous, misleading, and needlessly distracting.

“Most important to note is that any property or equity deal that the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union believes has sufficient merit to be presented to the General Council of the WPRFU, cannot be completed without the approval of that General Council. The decision will be Western Province’s; no-one else’s.”


SA Rugby then listed a 14-part timeline of events leading to the current mess.

“In conclusion, SA Rugby looks forward to ending Western Province’s unfortunate period of administration in the coming months with a solution approved by its clubs. The path taken has so far brought stability on and off the field while the process being followed to ensure the Union’s financial sustainability has been rigorously vetted from a legal and governance perspective.

“We would urge all stakeholders that the greatest service they can do to WPRFU right now is to allow the proposed solutions to come to its General Council without sideshows and interference where the membership will be able to decide their own fate.”

The organization was struggling to pay salaries and expenses, resulting in mounting debt and legal battles. The COVID-19 pandemic further aggravated the situation, with the absence of live spectators leading to a significant loss in revenue.


In November 2020, the union announced its intention to sell its Newlands stadium to a property developer, sparking widespread outrage among fans. However, the proposed sale fell through, and the WPRFU was placed under administration by the South African Rugby Union in March 2021.


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