Herald Live / September 22, 2017 / George Byron
Rademan hits back after ‘impetuous threat’ of fans staying away from Kings matches
EP Rugby Union boss Andre Rademan has branded a rugby transformation group’s call for fans and clubs to boycott Southern Kings Pro14 matches as an impetuous threat fuelled by exaggerated media reports.
The Rugby Transformation Coalition (RTC) wants clubs and fans to stay away from Southern Kings matches until South African Rugby hands control of the franchise back to the EPRU.
But Rademan, who succeeded Cheeky Watson as president of the troubled union in April, said his union was fully behind the Kings in the enlarged European competition, and has called for fan support.
Andre Rademan (Picture: George Byron)
He said the RTC’s boycott call had been exaggerated by media reports and vaunted banners ahead of the Kings’ match against Italian side Zebre tomorrow.
The RTC issued a statement on Tuesday calling for clubs and fans to boycott Southern Kings Pro14 matches until SA Rugby hands control of the franchise back to the EP Rugby Union.
Two statements were sent to the media yesterday regarding Rademan’s position on the boycott.
The first, sent out by EP communications official Makhaya Jack, made no mention of an “impetuous” RTC boycott call or that it had been fuelled by media speculation. However, the references did emerge in the second statement from Cape Town-based DBC Communication Practitioners, a strategic, tactical and crisis communication company.
In the statement, Rademan said: “The Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) calls on the entire Eastern Cape community to rally behind the Southern Kings this Saturday as they host the Italian team Zebre at the Nelson Mandela [Bay] Stadium.
“EPRU is fully behind the Southern Kings and we are workhas ing very closely with SA Rugby (Saru) to get the team back under local control.
“Negotiations between EPRU and Saru are proving to be more complex than anticipated, because of the recent history of maladministration before the current executive had been elected in April.
“Frustration in certain circles resulted in an unfortunate and impetuous threat of a boycott of Kings games, fuelled by exaggerated media reports and vaunted banners.
“A mature and calculated meeting of minds since Tuesday now resulted in a closer relationship among members of the executive committee, and in a newfound commitment to a unified front to ensure the soonest and complete management control over EP teams and EP commercial rights.
“I assure all interested parties that EPRU is fighting, as did the Kings fight above their weight in the 2017 Super Rugby competition, to bring normalcy to rugby management within its ranks.
“Unified, enthusiastic support for the Kings, this Saturday, and throughout the exciting Pro14 season, is a ticket to sustainable EPRU success.
“The EPRU executive committee is delighted to have a rugby franchise we can call EP’s own.
“The Kings ensure that the Eastern Cape remains an active participant on the international rugby stage.”
In response to Rademan’s statement, RTC spokesman Qondakele Sompondo said: “Our statement was well thought out and not impetuous. We stand by it and the reporting of it was accurate and not exaggerated.”
Sompondo said the RTC call was based on the fact that SA Rugby was in breach of its own constitution by continuing to run the affairs of its member union, thereby creating two centres of power in one province.
Meanwhile, Pieter-Steyn de Wet will start at flyhalf for the Kings against Zebre tomorrow.
LINK - http://www.heraldlive.co.za/sport/2017/09/22/epru-boss-slates-call-boycott/