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Decisive intervention needed in rugby - COSATU WCape

Tony Ehrenreich says the powers that be are dragging their feet in transforming (June 30)

COSATU calls on Sports Minister to intervene in rugby

COSATU calls on the ministers and sport administrators to intervene in rugby more decisively, as the powers that be drag their feet in transforming. The old boys club in rugby still control things in the same way they always have and they manage their public relations to reinforce this.

The Coach is always presented as now fixing the problems that Pieter de Villiers caused, to undermine the latter, yet we are bringing back old players when there are existing new ones around. The team on the field is still over-represented by white players, even though there are many great black players in the squad.

Looking at the match on Saturday, again black players are brought onto the field in the last five minutes, even though the springboks are comfortably ahead. This is because the Coach is scared that the black players will outshine the white players, if they get lots of game time.

Even when players go off for injury, they are rushed back on because the black replacements may shine.

The arrogance of the white boys club continues to be displayed very publicly, an example being how Matfield wears an old South African riot squad skull cap, completely disregarding how this may impact on the sentiments of black South Africans. He should be told to wear a cap with new national symbols.

The time is now to take decisive steps in respect of rugby and stop pandering to the old boys club. The powers in the game are money and the big sponsors who are able to put money in the game because of the tax breaks that National Government gives them. Government should also put their foot down in respect of the DSTV stranglehold in relation to the coverage of many aspects of South African Rugby.

There is a need for a comprehensive new deal in Rugby and most sports codes and Government must act decisively in respect of advancing it and not pander to the white establishment. Political leadership must act more decisively in advancing a more representative team in all sporting codes, as they have all the tools for achieving this at their disposal.

Statement issued by COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, June 30 2014

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