Another Spears twist

Southern Spears CEO, Tony McKeever, has been temporarily suspended by his own board of directors.

The suspension of “Maverick McKeever” – as he has been dubbed in certain circles – is the latest twist in the Spears soap opera that has been running for months now.

McKeever has been accused of acting on his own, without the authority of his board – a la Brian van Rooyen – and finally the board, led by president Aldy Meyer, has apparently had enough.

McKeever has revelled in the spotlight provided by the support of his board in the last few months, but that no longer exists. McKeever who admits he is SA Rugby’s public enemy number one, is now also on the Spears’ hate list.

The Spears board have gone to the extent that McKeever has been banned from entering the Spears’ offices until a full investigation into the alleged irregularities is complete.

McKeever says he was informed by a signed fax, dated May 12, by the Spears board of directors that he has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing, Die Burger reported.

Die Burger has a copy of the fax signed by Spears president, Aldy Meyer. It states that McKeever has been suspended with full salary from May 6.

McKeever though is refusing to go quietly. “SA Rugby is plotting the downfall of the Spears. They are interfering with Border, EP and South Western Districts. They are counting on fractures in the sub-unions to bring us down,” McKeever told keo.co.za

“SA Rugby called for the Spears board to resign and (Saru chairman of the board) Mpumelelo Tsume even wagged his finger at us and said we would all go to jail,” laughed McKeever.

An investigation will be launched into irregularities allegedly perpetrated by McKeever. Die Burger reported that the alleged irregularities are, among others, unauthorised expenses, unauthorised communications to SA Rugby and the media and neglecting to provide financial statements after a request by the board of directors.

“SA Rugby is trying to suffocate the Spears slowly but surely and my suspension is just another example of their tactics,” he told Die Burger.

“First they forced us out of the Super 14 series; now they’re trying to get us out of the Currie Cup and they’re forcing the board of directors to suspend me,” McKeever ranted.

The Spears were apparently given until 5pm on Saturday evening to make certain financial guarantees for their participation in this years’ Currie Cup. That did not happen. “There is no way we can meet any financial obligations. The entire 100% underwriting of the Spears comes from SA Rugby, so it is up to SA Rugby to pay,” he said.

“If SA Rugby don’t pay then it is them who is stopping us from being in the Currie Cup, not the Spears.” McKeever alleges several conspiracy theories and added that it was a joke that he has been suspended with full salary, because he last received a salary in March.

“Several things started going better after my suspension with regard to the Eastern Province Rugby Union, Border and South Western Districts,” said McKeever in clear reference to him being a marked man.

He says a new and less strict agreement has been agreed upon between the EPRU and SA Rugby for hosting the Test against Scotland; Border and SWD have received subsidies for their Spears players and Saru has said they will pay their players in the Spears squad until the end of November.

This, McKeever alleges, would never have happened while he was still the CEO.

By Andrew Hollely