South Africa

Tuks 'explain' technical transgression

Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:54
Duitser-bosman Piet-lindeque-tuks- Maties_tuks-rugby365-630

The transgression was neither intentional nor negligent

Quote-end

The University of Pretoria moved to dismiss the notion that they 'deliberately cheated' in the Varsity Cup this year.

This follows an independent hearing, chaired by Jannie Lubbe, that they had breached regulations by using a player who did not meet the required academic qualifications for the tournament.

The Executive Council of the Varsity Cup accepted the decision by Lubbe, that Tuks should only be "severely reprimanded" and not have any points deducted - despite being found guilty of contravening the Varsity Cup constitution with regards to the academic qualifications of participants in the competition.

Lubbe was asked by the Varsity Cup Exco to rule on eight charges against UP-Tuks of fielding possibly ineligible players in the Varsity Cup and Young Guns competitions.

Lubbe found UP-Tuks guilty on four of five charges in the Varsity Cup competition and not guilty of all three charges in the Young Guns competition.

All the guilty charges though relate to one player.

The guilty charges relate to the required number of bona-fide students that are allowed to play in the competitions.

All 23 players in the Young Guns competition must be bona-fide students as must 18 out of the match 23 in the Varsity Cup.

In his finding Lubbe found that the club also contravened the rules last year, but found this new contravention due to a different interpretation of the rules by a senior official at the University of Pretoria.

"Varsity Cup accepts that we need to upgrade the constitution even more, as we did it extensively in 2012," said CEO Duitser Bosman.

"We have a bona fide students audit during the competition every year," Bosman explained.

"We picked up some possible issues with UP Tuks and asked for additional information. After that, we decided to declare a dispute against UP Tuks and to ask an impartial individual, Lubbe to rule on this issue.

"We as Varsity Cup accepts the finding of Jannie Lubbe SC. We want to state that all remedies available to us according to our constitution to address this situation were used. We need to protect the integrity of the competition at all times and in this case it demands that we have to accept the ruling made by the arbiter, as dictated by our constitution and approved by all 13 member universities at the last Annual General Meeting," said Bosman.

"Play-offs are around the corner and we would like this to be the best Varsity Cup finish in the six year rich history of the competition," concluded Bosman.

Tuks responded with a statement of their own on Monday, in which they aimed to provide clarification in response to media reports over the past few days, including a press statement from Varsity Cup itself.

"Dispute resolution proceedings between FNB Varsity Cup and the Rugby Club of UP took place on 12 and 14 March," the Tuks statement said.

"The dispute related to an issue about whether a number of players in the UP team qualify as bona fide players for purposes of the Varsity Cup as well as the Young Guns competition.

"The chairperson of the proceedings was Advocate J. Lubbe.

"The outcome of the proceedings was that all the players concerned in the dispute (except one) qualify as bona fide students and, therefore, are eligible to participate in the competition.

"In regard to the player considered to be ineligible, the chairperson concluded that the individual was not a bona fide student according to his interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution and Regulations of the competition, even though the player was registered as a student at the University and was performing well academically.

"Lubbe pronounced in his determination as follows: 'I find that the transgression was neither intentional nor negligent but, rather, technical based on an imperfect interpretation [of the Constitution and Bye-laws].'

"UP was sternly reprimanded for the transgression. The University accepts the outcome of the proceedings.

"The University would like to point out that the transgression was of a technical nature and relates to a single player from a group of approximately 97 junior and senior players. The player participated in four Varsity Cup matches.

"During the 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Varsity Cup, a proposal was submitted that would have provided a mechanism to guide decisions about what constitutes a bona fide student that, by its very nature, could be interpreted and treated differently by participating universities. It was proposed that Registrars of the different universities or their representatives should rule on disputes in this regard. That would have prevented divergent interpretations of the rules. Unfortunately, the proposal was not accepted.

"Kobus van der Walt, Director of TuksSport, said the following about the incident that caused the dispute: 'Sportspersons are regularly chosen to participate in junior South African teams or training camps. Unfortunately, the various sports federations do not always take students' academic programmes into consideration when they organise training camps or international competitions such as the U/20 Rugby World Cup. To accommodate this, the University allows students to discontinue in a given year and, where possible, resume their studies in the same year where it is practically and academically possible. Students allowed such concessions are given no special treatment and often take a year or more to complete their academic programmes. Students are often multi-talented individuals and higher education institutions have to provide opportunities for them to develop all their abilities to the full. The finding in the current dispute resolution process is that the Varsity Cup Constitution and Regulations require that a student has to be enrolled for the full duration of the preceding year, and not just a part thereof, to qualify to participate in the competition as a bona fide student'.

"In regard to the participation of the student concerned for the rest of the competition, Van der Walt said: 'The player will be able to participate in the rest of the competition as part of the group of five players that are allowed to participate as non-bona fide students as allowed for in the Constitution. UP's position is that we are dealing here with a talented student who is performing well academically but who, unfortunately, cannot compete as a bona fide student'."

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