Calls for Loftus boycott over quotas

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 11:21
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Loftus Versfeld Stadium should be boycotted due to the Blue Bulls Rugby Union implementing a quota system, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium should be boycotted due to the Blue Bulls Rugby Union implementing a quota system, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said on Friday.

"The problem is the Blue Bulls voted in favour of the quota system which is a pity, as 75 years of Blue Bulls rugby is being celebrated this year," he said.

"People pay to watch rugby and not politics. The problem we have in South African rugby is we have politicians putting pressure on SARU [South African Rugby Union] and also people in SARU who follow the ANC's racial ideology, and supporters are not organised.

"It is time that people who pay to watch rugby take a stand against the quota system."

He said he had a season ticket for the stadium for the past 10 years but had now decided not to renew it.

"The reason is the BBRU has turned their backs on their loyal supporters that pay to watch rugby at Loftus and they've done that in favour of following the racial ideology of the ANC."

SARU confirmed on August 14 it would introduce a new quota system in domestic rugby in an attempt to see more black talent emerge.

From next year, all 14 Vodacom Cup teams will be required to pick a minimum of seven black players in their match-day squad of 22 players, two of whom must be forwards.

A minimum of five black players will be required to start the match.

The decision was taken by SARU's executive council on August 12, before the provincial unions had an opportunity to discuss the new rule changes on Tuesday.

"This decision to introduce measurable targets underlines SARU's commitment to transformation," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said at the time.

According to SARU, the numbers were determined in line with the rugby body's global transformation strategy, having reviewed historical levels of black representation in the competition.

Kriel said players should be chosen on merit, and there were very good black players who were chosen on merit.

However, implementing the quota system would infringe on the dignity of both black and white players.

Black players would be branded as quota players and white players not chosen based on the colour of their skin.

Kriel said if people did not take a stand against quotas at Vodacom Cup level, it would open the door for SARU to implement it at all levels, he said.

It could also dissuade people from playing rugby at schools and universities if quotas were implemented at a lower level.

"It doesn't create places for new black players. What happens is that unions simply go and buy black players in (other provinces) and they don't develop their (own) players."

Rugby should rather target schools, with assistance from government and municipalities, so the rugby playing-base could be broadened.

"SARU wants a quick fix that isn't fixing it all. Unions would buy black players to adhere to an artificial system."

Blue Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan said the union was committed to transformation.

"I don't want to comment on official discussions. I can confirm the Blue Bulls Rugby Union is committed to SARU's transformation charter and plan."