Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings’ place in Super Rugby in 2013
SARU CEO Jurie Roux has outlined the process and road ahead in the protracted Kings Super Rugby saga.
The SARU boss said there is a perception that the situation around the Kings and their inclusion in Super Rugby 2013 is out of control and a mess.
"That is simply not true," Roux said in a question and answer session with fans on the union's official website.
"We've been transparent from the beginning and have issues numerous media statements on this process, that incorporates all stakeholders and we're working non-stop at finding the best solution."
This is a basic outline of how the process has been unfolding up to now:
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.
May 17: Representatives of South Africa’s five existing Super Rugby franchises (Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs, MTN Lions, The Sharks and DHL Stormers), the Southern Kings, the SARU presidency and management met in Johannesburg on Thursday in the latest in a series of meetings on the subject.
* It was decided that a further meeting of franchises of SARU to discuss participation in the Super Rugby competition should take place on Monday, 21 May.
* It was agreed that a solution has to be secured that does not damage any of the existing franchises.
May 21: A number of options for Super Rugby participation in 2013 were discussed by a meeting of South Africa’s franchises and SARU leadership in Johannesburg.
* The meeting was positive and the delegates came up with a number of options for participation on which the franchises were agreed.
* Those options will go to the Exco for consideration and ultimately to the General Council for a decision.
The Ordinary SARU General Council meeting scheduled for 13 July was subsequently postponed on request from the majority of the SARU provincial unions.
"Rugby has been consistently united in supporting the Kings’ place in Super Rugby in 2013. 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," Roux said, adding: "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.
"We certainly don't see the Kings' inclusion as something that will spark a mass exodus of players from South Africa. Playing overseas is something that has become part and parcel of the South African game (as well as in other countries) and it's something we are trying to address, but the inclusion of the Kings will not necessarily change this.
"It's also a misconception that the Kings in their current form will be the team that will feature in Super Rugby next year - they will be a new team (just like the Melbourne Rebels differed from the Aussie provincial side that played in their provincial competition a few years ago) and we have faith in what they aim to achieve."