Kings benefactor goes under?

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 09:13

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Chief Executive of Pro Rugby North America  Douglas Schoninger seems to be at the centre of the latest contract scandal.

In an exclusive interview with rugby365 earlier this month, Schoninger stepped up as the saviour of the liquidated EP Kings.

After meeting up with SARU President Mark Alexander it seemed the proposed collaboration between the organisations were on track.

However, according to Alexander, USA Rugby were not in full support of the deal.

But Schoninger, in an exclusive interview with rugby365, said there is "much misinformation" in all the reports surrounding Pro Rugby's attempts to invest in the Kings and that the deal could still happen - sometime in the future.

"We are still hopeful we can be involved with [the] EPRU," Schoninger told this website.

He confirmed that PRO Rugby North America is sanctioned by USA Rugby.

However, there is no ownership interest in either party by the other.

"We would not need USA Rugby approval to invest in a team in SA, or anywhere," he said, adding: "This would be a private transaction between SARU and Pro Rugby.

"We would need USA Rugby to sanction foreign players and coaches to play in the USA.

Unfortunately for the Kings this was a little bit more fiction than facts. 

In the latest development, the proposed Kings' benefactor Schoninger is yet to pay his own players for their services during the inaugural Pro rugby league.

The Pro Rugby players were supposed to receive payments on December 15 but the payments was delayed. Now, Schoningers promised the payments will be available by December 21 but no later than December 22. Only time will tell.

According to an email sent to the Pro Rugby players by Schoninger the dispute between USA Rugby plays a major part in the financial conundrum.   

"We have been actively trying to resolve our issues with USA Rugby for over four months and, unfortunately, it appears that USA Rugby will not honour the commitments they made to us.

"Because of this, we are notifying all presently agreed players of Pro Rugby that we are exercising the Voluntary Termination clause in your contract [section 5(b)],"

The CEO further went on the explain that the players still work for Pro Rugby up and until the termination of the contracts.

"We are hopeful, but with no assurances, that we will be able to resolve all issues with USA Rugby prior to end of the termination clause period. We will keep you up to date with any progress or news as it becomes available.

"Please remember, until the end of the termination clause you are still an employee of Pro Rugby and all duties and obligations should be adhered to,"

The USA Rugby issued a statement regarding  Pro Rugby on December 20. In it, the USA Rugby denies any allegations purported by Schoninger, and their policy is to not speak dispute in the media.

Despite being unable to pay his players, Schoninger is still planning to go ahead with the competition in 2017.