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When the Southern Kings were formed, much was made of its role in nurturing young black rugby talent in an area described by SARU President Oregan Hoskins as “the cradle of black rugby”. Rugby undoubtedly receives popular support in black EC communities and the Kings franchise was promised to play a critical part in the development of future black Springboks. But the continued financial woes at the Eastern Province Rugby Union have been extremely worrying. Last year players twice went on strike over unpaid wages, and in April players and staff were reportedly owed up to four months’ salary totalling R18 million. SARU has taken over the administrative running of the Union, but it seems the fight for financial survival is not going well. – David O’Sullivan
Cape Town – Professional rugby in the Eastern Province will in all likelihood cease to exist from next week.
According to Netwerk24, the EPRU will no longer contest the liquidation order which was obtained by 36 unpaid former players.
The union on Tuesday officially withdrew a business rescue plan in the Port Elizabeth High Court where a final decision on liquidation of the union will be made on August 4.
“The EPRU has no more cards left to play,” a source told Netwerk24.
“On Tuesday there was still the possibility that the union could come up with another business plan, but the fact that EP is not even prepared to fight the liquidation order anymore, speaks volumes.”
Another interested party said the union has agreed to pay the players’ legal fees.
SA Rugby has assumed administrative control of the Eastern Province Rugby Union #SSRugby
— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) April 21, 2016
“It is definitely a victory for the players,” he said. “But it could be bittersweet. The lawyers must still finally convince the court to enforce the liquidation order. So it’s not yet time to relax.”
However, doubts remain whether the union would be able to generate enough money by selling what is believed to be limited assets.
There is therefore the possibility that the players would only receive parts of their outstanding salaries. – Sport24
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