Civil rights organisation AfriForum has instructed its legal team to prepare an official complaint against the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and its racial quota system, which will be submitted to the International Rugby Board (IRB). The possibility to open a case with the International Court for Arbitration in Sport will also be investigated. AfriForum reacted to the news that SARU President Oregan Hoskins had instructed the Sprinbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, that race should play a bigger role in the selection of the Springbok team.
According to Kallie Kriel, AfriForum CEO, IRB rules prohibit explicitly any form of racial discrimination and political interference in rugby.
“SARU’s instruction to the Springbok coach is a crude form of racial discrimination and an indication that SARU has surrendered to the quota threats of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula,” Kriel said.
Kriel pointed out that it was not in the interest of South African rugby, players or the supporters of the sport when SARU blatantly contravenes the rules of the IRB. In terms of Bye-Law 3 of the IRB rules and regulations, the IRB is compelled to prevent any form of racial discrimination in rugby. Regulation 20 also determines that any action in rugby which entails racial discrimination amounts to “misconduct”. In terms of bye-law 9.4(r) the IRB may institute disciplinary steps against any rugby body that violates these rules.
According to Kriel AfriForum supports rugby development, and wants everyone to have the opportunity to participate in the sport.
“A racial quota system disadvantages all talented players of all races. White players are disadvantaged because they are excluded from participation based on their race and the validity of the inclusion of black players in teams is by default suspect,” Kriel added.
SARU and Government should address their own failure to develop young talent at school level with development programmes rather than playing the numbers game in a top-down manipulation of the sport.