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Kings only have 2013 guarantee

Fri, 11 May 2012 00:00

The Souther Kings will play in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament. That is a fact! However, they have no guarantee of participation in this SANZAR showpiece beyond next year.

This became clear in a 'briefing document' released by the South African Rugby Union.

It is almost certain that the Lions will be the team to be axed from the South African conference at the conclusion of 2012 - unless there is a dramatic change in fortunes in the final eight weeks of the season.

SARU also confirmed that the 'top four' teams in the SA conference will join the Kings in 2013.

That means the last-placed Lions - currently 12 points behind the Cheetahs (fourth) on the SA conference standings - is the team to be dropped.

However, the SANZAR document also make it clear that there will be promotion/relegation for the SA teams at the end of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

"Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings' place in Super Rugby in 2013," SARU CEO Jurie Roux said.

"Our focus has been on finding a rugby answer to the questions that flow from that decision that's fair, transparent in its mechanism and will strengthen South African rugby in the long run. Those discussions continue.

"Until a final decision is reached, the franchises and the SARU presidency are agreed that it would be unhelpful to the competing teams to publicly debate the pros and cons of different scenarios.

"When a decision is announced we will be able to report back to rugby supporters in full."

It was also revealed that next Thursday, May 17, franchise representatives and members of SARU executive committee will meet in Johannesburg for further discussions.

However, this is not a decision-making body and can only make recommendations to the Exco.

SARU's briefing document:

Decision-making authority
* The identity of the South African teams participating in the Super Rugby competition is governed by the constitution of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
* Clause 9.2.5 specifies that the General Meeting is responsible for the "approval of  the format, structure and composition of SARU's  Major Competition, currently known as the Absa Currie Cup or its successor,  as well as determining the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby competitions."
* The voting membership of the General Meeting is made up of two representatives of the 14 provinces – each of whom has one vote (28) – and the chairman of the meeting (who is the President of the South African Rugby Union or his deputy) making a total of 29 votes.
* A simple majority is required to pass motions in relation to this clause.
* The next scheduled General Meeting of SARU is Friday, July 13 in Cape Town.

Events in 2012

January 27: A Special General Meeting was held to consider Super Rugby participation (among other things).
* The SARU Executive Council (Exco) proposed that the top four teams in the South African conference at the end of the 2012 competition join the Southern Kings as the South African representatives in the 2013 competition.
* It was also proposed that the last-placed team in the South African Conference would play a promotion/relegation match against the non-Super Rugby franchise at the conclusion of the 2013 and 2014 competitions. 
* The meeting reaffirmed the Kings' participation in the 2013 tournament.
* The franchises requested that a decision on the mechanism of qualification was postponed to allow them time to make alternative proposals.  
* The General Meeting accepted the request. Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, asked for it to be recorded that the delay in a decision was at the franchises' request, therefore precluding them (unions) from criticism of delays in any decisions.

February 23: Franchise representatives and members of the Exco met for a second time to discuss the way forward.
* It was decided that franchises representatives would accompany SARU's SANZAR delegates (Roux and deputy president Mark Alexander) to meet SANZAR partners with proposals to encompass the inclusion of a sixth South African franchise. The group was scheduled to depart on March 17.

March 14: A final preparation meeting was held between franchise representatives and SARU's SANZAR delegates.
* The meeting requested SARU to write to Australia and New Zealand requesting a postponement in the visit in order to prepare additional expansion options.
* No date has been rescheduled.

Next Steps

May 17: Franchise representatives and members of Exco will meet in Johannesburg for further discussions. This is not a decision-making body and can only make recommendations to the Exco.

May 24: Next scheduled meeting of the SARU Exco.

July 13: Next scheduled meeting of the SARU General Council.