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SA Rugby takes interim management control of Southern Kings

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander during the South African national rugby team arrival media conference at OR Tambo International Airport on 5 November 2019 (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

  • SA Rugby president Mark Hoskins has confirmed that the organisation has taken interim management control of the Southern Kings.
  • All players and staff currently at the franchise will be retained.
  • The Kings will play continue to play in the PRO14 and any other local tournament that will take place once the coronavirus pandemic eases.

SA Rugby has taken management control over the troubled Southern Kings by taking back a 74% shareholding in the franchise.

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Sport24 reported on Sunday that the move was imminent and on Monday, the governing body of the sport in South Africa confirmed as much in a press release to the media.

SA Rugby say that all players, management, office staff, sponsors and provincial and metropolitan authorities have been advised of the latest developments.

All staff and players of the franchise have also been retained.

“I cannot stress enough how reluctant we are to resume control of the Southern Kings,” said Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby.

“It is our last resort and we are keen to explore ways to return the shareholding to another’s hands, in conjunction with the EPRU, the minority shareholder, who have given the required approval to the decision. 

“The next step is to appoint a new board to oversee the franchise’s affairs and ensure the team is match ready for when we are able to resume playing.”

A finance team appointed by SA Rugby will work with franchise administrators on ensuring salary payments are made and business needs are addressed.

Alexander said the decision to take interim management control was taken following the failure of the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (GRC) to meet its financial commitments relating to the acquisition of the shareholding.

The Southern Kings will continue to participate in PRO14 and/or any other competitions that may be established within the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

“This was a decision we took with extreme reluctance and after allowing GRC considerable lee-way in which to meet the contractual commitments they made on the acquisition of the shareholding,” said Alexander.

“We appreciated the vision and intentions of the GRC but unfortunately we are operating in an unforgiving business environment.”

A decision on whether an administrator needed to be additionally appointed would be taken in the coming days.

Southern Kings Timeline:

  • November 2010: SA Rugby announces intention to field the Southern Kings in Vodacom Super Rugby in 2013.
  • February 2013: Kings compete in the Vodacom Super Rugby competition as one of five South African teams.
  • August 2013: Kings lose place in Vodacom Super Rugby in a two-legged play off against the Lions.
  • November 2015: SA Rugby takes control of the franchise when EPRU, to whom the operation of the franchise had been granted, ran into financial trouble.
  • February 2016: Kings return to Vodacom Super Rugby when the competition expands to 18 teams.
  • April 2017: SANZAAR announces that Vodacom Super Rugby will contract from 18 teams to 15 teams in 2018.
  • September 2017: The Kings (and Toyota Cheetahs) are included as South Africa’s ground-breaking representatives in the Guinness PRO14 competition.
  • January 2019: GRC acquires 74% shareholding in the franchise; EPRU retain a 26% shareholding.
  • June 2020: SA Rugby resumes control of the Southern Kings following the failure of GRC to meet contractual commitments.

– Compiled by Sport24 staff

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