SARPA concerned over Border crisis

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:01
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The South African Rugby Players’ Association has expressed concern at the financial situation at the Border Bulldogs.

The South African Rugby Players’ Association (SARPA) has expressed concern at the financial situation at the Border Bulldogs.

The crisis started when players at the East London-based union did not receive their match fees for the month of September, and salaries for October have not been paid in full.

"The financial crisis at Border Rugby is having a negative impact on the well-being of rugby in Border but more importantly the players as they have monthly financial commitments to attend to," said SARPA CEO Piet Heymans.

“This in turn affects their retirement, medical aid and contract insurance, contributions which are crucial components to a professional rugby player in South Africa,” Heymans added.

The financial meltdown stems from constant disagreements between the company and the union on the management and administration of the company and in this process players are being the ones facing the financial brunt of the on-going boardroom squabbles. There have been no indications from the CEO on whether any funds are or will be available for future salary payments.

"We as the players’ association have done our best to assist our members during these uncertain times at Border Rugby,” commented SARPA player affairs general manager David de Villiers.

“We've negotiated a temporary extension of their gym memberships in East London as well as arranged for players to redeem meal hampers at the local shopping market," concluded De Villiers.

Pre-season preparations have come to a standstill at the union as there is no head coach. Former coach Paul Flanagan recently parted ways with the Border Bulldogs after his employers failed to pay him for the last three months.

The future talent of Border Rugby is likely to take a further knock with the academy, which is run by the current administration, has been shut down.

"SARPA would like to see a speedy resolution to the situation at Border as this is taking strain on players at the union and can destroy rugby in Border,” added Heymans.

The union has decided to appeal an earlier court ruling in favour of the company. This will result in even more hardship as the players were hoping that a final decision would have been taken on Tuesday but the court case has now been postponed to December 5.

"This postponement is a tragedy. The players are desperate and many are looking for alternative playing opportunities as the future of Border Rugby looks bleak," concluded Heymans.